Payne & Associates, PLLC

We live in a very competitive society. Everyone wants to win. In this light, when facing a divorce, many people will look for the so-called "bulldog" attorney, a lawyer who always goes for the victory in every debated issue in divorce.

While the battle-focused approach is powerfully attractive, it often comes at a cost: This approach might not be the best for you. It might not get you what you really want. It is important to take the time necessary to define what success looks like for you and then find an attorney who will help you reach the goals that are truly important to you.

Varying Approaches to Divorce

While everyone wants to be successful in any endeavor they undertake, there are numerous definitions of success in different contexts.

In the situation of divorce, it is especially important to define success because there are many different approaches. For some, success in divorce means getting the most money or making their soon-to-be ex-spouse suffer. Others want to make sure they get as much time as possible with the kids. Still others just want to end the marriage and move on with life.

The emotions involved with divorce further complicate matters in terms of defining success. The natural knee-jerk reaction in an emotional divorce is to battle it out over every issue and do as much damage as possible to the other party. The problem with that approach is that it fails to focus on what you really want. You could find years later that you never took care of your own interests (and perhaps your children's interests) because you were so focused on the battle.

Conversely, some people are too nice in their divorce, always trying to be conciliatory and collaborative to the point of never addressing their own needs.

With either approach, the risk is losing out on your own needs and values. It is critical to take the time to define success.

Defining Success for You

Once you are convinced that your divorce is imminent, one of the first things you should do before proceeding is to define what it is you want. One option is to make a list of priorities for your divorce, laying out the order of importance of the primary issues.

Putting the most important things first in this manner helps in a number of ways. First, it helps focus your energy on the things that matter most. Second, acknowledging the issues that are not of the highest importance to you saves emotional energy by avoiding fights over things that don't really matter. Third, you can use those things that are not as important as leverage for the most important issues.

Success in Process as Well as Outcome

For many divorcing parties, the process is just as important to success as the outcome. Whether you prefer a courtroom battle or an amicable, negotiated process, make sure you are proceeding in a way you prefer.

Choosing the Right Attorney

An experienced lawyer can help you make these determinations of what is most important to you. A skilled, conscientious attorney will also make sure to understand your goals and advocate for your interests in a way you are comfortable with.

When you talk with a lawyer about your divorce, make sure this person is someone you want to work with you. Does the attorney listen to you? Does he or she take the time to really understand you and show willingness to let you define success and express your interests?

In your initial consultation with a potential attorney, if you see any signs that your attorney is not willing to do things your way and advocate for your interests, it might be better to find another lawyer right away.

With all the serious implications in your pending divorce, make sure you are the one who defines success.

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Payne & Associates, PLLC
206 North Spruce Street, Suite 1B
Winston Salem, NC 27101

Phone: 336-283-2937
Fax: 336-217-8784
Winston Salem Law Office Map