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Diana Mercer

Diana Mercer

10 Best Ways to Screw Up Your Divorce

Posted: 01/27/11 11:46 AM ET

Before I became a mediator, I was a divorce litigation attorney for 12 years. My nickname was "Jaws." Litigation was fun--for me, the lawyer--but probably not so much for the clients who were paying a king's ransom for a lot of stuff they insisted that needed to be done which I knew was counter-productive. If I said that at the outset of the case, I'd be accused of being on the other spouse's side, yet after I followed the client's instructions of "damn the torpedos " after the fact I'd be accused of churning the case to jack up the bill. So 22 years later, I'm a full time mediator and as a result have the freedom to tell you how divorce litigation clients screw themselves and waste their money. Think I'm kidding? I was once fired by a client because I handed her husband a Kleenex after I made him cry at a deposition. Seriously.

Be Disorganized
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Organize nothing. Either bring none of your financial records or requested documents to your attorney's office or court hearing, or bring all your financial records in a paper sack overflowing with miscellaneous papers.

As part of your mission of being incredibly disorganized, it's also extremely important to take no responsibility for any aspect of your case. Procrastinate getting documents together and ask your lawyer to handle even the simplest stuff because you don't have time and, of course, money is no object.
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Diana Mercer is the co-author of Making Divorce Work: 8 Essential Keys to Resolving Conflict and Rebuilding Your Life (Penguin 2010), and Your Divorce Advisor (Simon & Schuster 2001) and a mediator at Peace Talks Mediation Services, Inc.


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