Getting divorced can be an incredibly difficult experience. On top of the anger, sadness and guilt you may be struggling with, you can also feel intimidated and scared about the legal process ahead of you.

Knowing what to expect from the process, however, can be a great help in allaying some concerns you may be having. For instance, one reason you may be frightened about the future is that you do not have a clear understanding of who does what in a divorce and what role you will have in securing a fair resolution to issues like property division and child custody.

To begin with, there is the judge. We discussed the role of the judge in family law matters at length in this article available on our website. Generally speaking, we note that while judges are the ultimate authority when it comes to settlement negotiations, they often focus much of their time and efforts on helping you and your ex come to a decision on your own.

Your attorneys will also play a critical role in pursuing a successful outcome. Whether your divorce is litigious or collaborative, your respective attorneys will help you understand your rights and pursue those solutions that meet your needs and goals.

It is important to remember, however, that you play the most important role in your divorce settlement. You know what is in your best interests and you will need to make some crucial decisions on how to protect these. Based largely on your input, the decision will be made to pursue mediation, collaboration or litigation. Ultimately, it is your actions and decisions that will dictate how your divorce proceeds.

Too many people make the mistake of thinking that divorce is an all-or-nothing process: you either have complete control of the situation or no control whatsoever. But the truth lies somewhere in the middle. By understanding this and discussing the process and your intentions with your attorney, you can be better prepared to pursue a fair and satisfactory solution.