Taking the Lead and Being Aggressive in Divorce

Collaborating during divorce is something many people suggest you should do, but the reality is that not every person is served best by collaborating during a divorce.

When you collaborate, you end up giving up something to negotiate. When you feel wronged by your spouse or don't want to give up what you've earned, it's time to fight, not give in to your spouse's requests.

What is the benefit of an aggressive approach to divorce?

First, if you're the spouse with more to lose, being aggressive helps protect yourself. Whether that means fighting for sole custody, aggressively protecting your retirement or fighting against losing your home, sometimes, it's an active, aggressive approach that works best.

Does aggressive mean contentious?

Not always. Aggressive simply means taking the lead. Maybe your spouse isn't sure what he or she wants or is delaying the divorce in some way. Taking aggressive action gives you more control. By being aggressive and firm in your actions, you dictate what is acceptable to you and what you're willing to do for your spouse. You go into the divorce with firm expectations and challenge your spouse to give reasons why he or she deserves what you intend to take from your marriage.

What do you need for a focused, aggressive divorce?

You should prepare as much documentation ahead of time as possible. When you first speak with your attorney, bring paperwork and documents showing your finances, your assets and information about your children or other important parts of your life. Do this before you tell your spouse you want a divorce, so you have the control when you file.

Shouldn't people want to work together to resolve a divorce?

Not always. In cases of abuse, for example, there is no point in working together; instead, you need to look out for your best interests. If you feel your spouse isn't willing to negotiate or has wronged you through adultery or another fault, you may also prefer litigation over negotiating. At the end of the day, you don't have to worry about your spouse following the divorce, but you do need to worry about your future and how the divorce impacts you now and in the years to come.

Whether you want to call if assertive or aggressive behavior, the reality is the same. Taking the lead puts you in a position of power during a divorce, so you get more of what you need.