I told a friend of mine that I finally decided to divorce Adam. Since she has gone through the separation and divorce process, she gave me a few topics to try to negotiate with Adam. I didn’t know how Adam would take my suggestion to first negotiate before we see lawyers. Honestly, Grace, I’m trying to cut down on costs. The attorney I called, referred by another friend, quoted me $4,000 as the retainer fee, which compared to others, is really reasonable.
Here are a few topics that are open for negotiation with Adam:
- Child Custody: We decided our custody would be every other week.
- Holidays: How will holidays be divided? Even and odd years?
- Vacations and Out of State Travel: When boys go on vacation out of state with one of us, each of us will be required to notify the other one our travel arrangements two weeks prior to date of travel.
- Right of Refusal: When we have our visitation and require babysitting, the parent will give the other one first right of refusal to babysit.
- Religion: Will I be able to take the boys to church on the Sundays I don’t have custody?
- School and Tuition: Will both of us have decision-making power on school placement based on what is in the best interest of the children? Who will complete school documents, as needed? Will tuition and early and afterschool day care costs be shared with the exception of late fees for late daycare arrival? When there is a school holiday, the parent who has the boys that week will make arrangements for their care while the parent goes to work.
- Clothes and Toys: We decided each of us will have a set of clothes and toys for the boys.
- Extracurricular Activities
- How will the decisions be made on extracurricular activities the children will participate in? Jointly? Who will be responsible for making transportation and supervision arrangements?
- Child Support: Will this be determined by the court or the lawyers?
- Spousal Support: Will this be determined by the court or the lawyers? Will Adam waive his right to reserve spousal support at a later date should he lose his job or find himself incapacitated to work?
- Home: Will we sell the house? Can Adam afford it? Will he buy me out? Could he with the economy the way it is?
- Cars: Who gets which cars? If there’s an outstanding loan, will the bill be divided equally?
- Life Insurance: Will Adam keep his life insurance or will he surrender the policy? Do I request for Adam to get life insurance?
- 401K: How will this be divided?
- Artwork: Who will get which artwork? What is it valued at? Is this negotiable should I want something else?
- Health: Who will pay for the children’s health insurance? Will the cost be divided equally or the responsibility be on one person?
- Medical: Who will pay for the children’s medical expenses?
- Bills: How will bills be divided?
Grace, there are so many topics that need to be addressed. I’m certain there are still many more details that will need to be ironed out. For now, I thank my friend for taking the time to sit down with me and go over these major areas. Adam and I definitely have our work cut out for us. This calls for a glass of Merlot!
Guiding Lesson: Eve, there sure is a lot of logistics and details to think about. I guess the knot you tied when you got married and the additional knots that were tied with each event, now need to be untied and some may need to be untangled.
It kind of doesn’t seem right to have to move into this stage and engage in fair negotiations after your heart has been betrayed. How will you stay objective and not be reminded of the foolish choice made by Adam that brought you here? How do you speak from a place of peace and not from what has been wounded? During the process, you need to expect that Adam may bump into one of your wounds that have not yet healed and how will you respond?
My suggestion is to lean on God and commit to daily prayer, journaling and breathing exercises. This will make you strong, your mind sharp and you will find peace in the midst of chaos. In your faithfulness, God will open your eyes, light your path, fill you with grace and nourish your soul. Simply put he is the journey and the destination.
So as you begin thinking through these topics, you may want to consider, while in prayer:
- Why you want what you want?
- Are they aligned with your values?
- Who does it serve?
- Are you holding on to something that you need to let go?
- What is best for David and Jonathan?
Remember each decision is a note that will be part of composing your new song. For this is why it is important that you are mindful, awake and present to the impact of your negotiations.
Eve, it is time to file away the old so you can begin anew. God promises you a new song but he did not promise the time it takes to compose one will be easy and quick. “Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and slander be put away from you with all malice”- Ephesians 4.31- as you negotiate and file for divorce. This will help heal your wounds so you can eventually “be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another as God in Christ forgave you” – Ephesians 4.31. Look ahead, God is waiting for you with open arms so you may dance to your new song.