It’s easy to drown in a sea of choices. The weight of indecision can consume us, leaving us trapped in a swirling whirlpool, gasping for breath. But here’s the secret: overwhelm is a choice in itself. And just like any choice, we hold the power to break free.

So, how can we escape this suffocating cycle? The answer lies in this simple yet transformative action: get informed and choose. Knowledge is the key to liberation. Arm yourself with information, explore the possibilities, and most importantly, make a choice.

So, are you ready to retire the overwhelm and become empowered? The journey begins with a single choice.

You understand the options (Step 1)   But how to choose?

Schedule a consultation (Step 2).

You know about going to court and letting a judge decide. You know you could mediate, use collaborative law and even that you might be able to DIY your divorce- even if you don’t know exactly how. [For a description of these options, click] Now is the time to schedule a consultation with a lawyer who can help you choose what’s best for you and your family. You’re not committed but it’s the next step to avoid a misstep.

A word of caution

Choose your attorney wisely. Some lawyers live to go to court and argue before a judge. “Doing battle” is satisfying to them. And there is an art to conducting a skillful, perhaps even scathing, cross-examination of the other party, i.e., your spouse, and presenting your case before a judge. If you are reeling from the emotional divorce whirlwind that can overtake life, it might sound appealing to have that kind of lawyer. “Well, yeah, “ you might think. “I DO want an attorney who can destroy my soon-to-be ex-spouse who has wronged me so deeply and who deserves to be punished.”

It’s a conundrum for me, a lawyer with 30 years of practice behind me. I understand how satisfying it can feel to clients to think about “destroying” their spouse in court. Yet I have seen that scorched earth approach taken with two basically decent, but flawed parties, who walk away from their divorce trial broke and decimated. I have also seen cases where a lack of appropriate advocacy and protection for a client hurt the parent and the children involved who needed protection. So when making that consultation appointment, choose a lawyer who has deep experience with all the options.  You don’t want to just learn about the one the lawyer loves.

How do we help you choose?

Here’s how we have resolved this in our firm.  We really listen first.  We understand that your situation likely looks quite different from the person’s we met with an hour ago. Going into your initial consultation, we never assume you need any particular approach. We don’t assume you need a peaceful, respectful collaborative process with the assistance of a divorce coach. Nor do we assume you need aggressive, gloves-off advocacy and litigation because without it you will lose rights important to you and the children.  Each of those approaches is entirely appropriate–for the right situation.  What matters is that together we choose the right approach for you

What if emotions are strong?

In our firm, I do primarily collaborative law and mediation. I am largely working with two well-intentioned parties who are at times deeply hurt and sad and at other times so angry they can barely remain at the negotiation table. But, in either mediation or the collaborative process, they are given time, space and opportunity to not just act on those very strong emotions, but rather to express them productively so they can be processed and factored into settlement decisions. The goal for these folks is almost always to come out on the other side of their divorce process with peace and the ability to move forward into the future with a settlement that works–and with kids who aren’t more pained by their parents’ divorce than they already will be.

When people remain committed, I often see couples, with tears in their eyes, hug one another at our final signing session. Had they utilized a traditional approach to their divorce, well, let’s just say I’ve never seen people leave a courtroom and hug each other.

However, those approaches aren’t right for every family.

The trial lawyers with whom I associate work with clients who may be well-intentioned themselves but perhaps married to someone who’s not. In those situations, much can be lost if you don’t have a forceful advocate. We recently had a situation where our client was considering a settlement (doing it DIY) that, when fully analyzed, would result in her receiving about $600,000 less in property than what a straight 50/50 division would have given her. She had no idea that this was the kind of proposal her husband was presenting–and she almost accepted it. Court has its place.

Make a choice with confidence (Step 3).

So know your options–as early as possible–and choose one. I’m always a fan of using “right sized” legal assistance.  Couples who do not have children and little by way of assets may just need some advice on the side while they DIY their divorce.  We’re happy to assist those folks in the minimal way that works for them.  Some couples are at a cross-roads, so flooded by emotions they can’t think straight. They may just need some simple explanations and advice about what a fair divorce looks like. Sometimes people have been shut out of home, finances or children and need immediate intervention and representation. Each of these cases would be poorly served by simply employing a cookie-cutter approach and being offered the one and only tool in an attorney’s tool box. You don’t want to approach a dragon with an olive branch and you don’t want to kill a fly with a cannon. We are committed to never simply informing our clients that “this is the way we do it here.” Because, well, we do it a lot of different ways here and there’s one that’s right for you.

I say it often: The most important decision you will make is the kind of divorce you choose.

If you would like to explore your options with an attorney, contact us to schedule an in-person or video initial consultation. Yes, we do charge for initial consults but the careful attention and time we spend understanding your situation will help ensure you choose the right process.  We look forward to helping you make the right choice to retire the overwhelm and become empowered.

Wishing you wisdom,

Deborah Bennett Berecz


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Berecz and Associates PLC | Attorneys, Mediators, Collaborative Lawyers | Grand Rapids, MI | Saint Joseph, MI

Disclaimer: The purpose of this site is to give you information about our practice and about areas of the law that may interest you. Everyone's situation is different, and nothing here should be treated as legal advice for your case. For your own legal advice, contact us.

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