For some, the fresh start of a New Year means a divorce filing. In fact, a recent article suggests that family and divorce lawyers commonly refer to the first business day of January as “Divorce Monday.”

If divorce is indeed someone’s New Year’s resolution, our attorneys would recommend drawing upon another holiday tradition: top 5 lists. Of course, the number is arbitrary; an individual who is careful to review documents and strategy with his or her divorce lawyer may not need to heed all of the tips, or perhaps regard them as common sense. Yet for what it’s worth, here’s our law firm’s advice.

First, don’t be in a rush. Although divorce may raise uncomfortable emotions, it pays to take things at a careful pace.

Second, don’t agree to offers without consulting with your attorney. An attorney may spot hidden issues.

Third, don’t take a certain position or stance as a means of punishing your soon-to-be former spouse. A couple can divorce in Maryland on no-fault grounds, and even if fault were available, the accompanying emotions might cloud one’s judgment.

In that same vein, our fourth tip is to avoid using one’s kids as leverage or a means to punish the other spouse. The court will endeavor to rule in a child’s best interest, and so should you.

Finally, our fifth tip is to be open to strategic advice from one’s divorce lawyer. An attorney who is familiar with Maryland’s divorce laws may recommend alternatives to full divorce litigation, such as mediation, arbitration or even collaborative divorce.

Source: Forbes, ” Should You Start Divorce Proceedings In January?” Jeff Landers, Jan. 26, 2016