Most of my cases are divorce and, as you might imagine, involve lots of emotion. What I see a lot of is two people who are barely handling things and getting themselves through the process when in comes someone to stir the pot. Often, a parent or friend or some other person, pokes his or her nose in where it doesn't belong and then one of the people involved in the divorce loses his or her cool.
This is bad. Very bad.
Honestly, the key to divorce is cooperation. I know it seems insane to think about cooperating with your spouse when you are divorcing. But, it really is for the best. It is easier to cooperate and get things done, than it is to argue, fight, let others influence the process, and just prolong the divorce. I'm not saying you have to agree on everything. Obviously, that's not going to happen. If it were that easy, you probably wouldn't be getting divorced. But, I don't think it's asking too much for both parties to be reasonable in their demands.
The best thing for you to do is hire a lawyer you can trust, one that is honest with you about the process, and let that lawyer explain your legal rights. Then, start working within that arena. A divorce settlement and a joint parenting agreement can be anything you want it to be if the parties can come to agreement. Think outside of the box sometimes. That might be what gets you what you need. Don't allow a family member or friend attempt to negotiate on your behalf. I will tell you right now that person doesn't have your best interests in mind. That person likely has a score of his or her own that he or she is looking to settle.
Divorce is a terrible time. But, it's an extremely important time. A time when you need to have your wits about you and know your rights. This is a time when you need to be calm and think logically. Whatever you do, don't allow yourself to be pushed around and frightened into doing anything. Hopefully, you are able to hire an attorney that you trust and is honest with you about everything. That attorney is there to assist you with your legal needs and make sure the problem is approached calmly.
One other thing, communication is key. Communicate with your attorney and make note of whether your attorney is communicating with you. If you find yourself in a situation where your lawyer rarely returns your calls, it is probable that your lawyer is not returning opposing counsels calls either. Not communicating prolongs the process. AND, it just upsets everyone involved. In this world of texting and emails, there really is no excuse for not communicating basic information to your lawyer or your soon to be ex-spouse. Leave off the commentary. Just a simple text "I'm running 15 minutes late" is sufficient. If the other party responds with a nasty text, just ignore it....take the high road....it's worth it in the long run.
Good luck everyone and, please, have a happy and safe 4th of July!!!