21 Divorce Experts All Share Their Number 1 Tip

Obviously, there are HUGE benefits to hiring a virtual law firm like us to handle your divorce in Oregon.

BUT there is one real drawback: you miss out on being able to sit down and pick your lawyer’s brain for some sage wisdom and advice on how you should approach your divorce overall (for $250 an hour). Because lawyers really do have an insane amount of highly valuable experience guiding people through all aspects of the divorce process.

So I wanted to make sure that my virtual law clients can still get access to this kind of big-picture advice from some epic divorce lawyers. I decided to survey the top 21 divorce experts in the country for their single most important piece of advice. Then I combined their answers with my own knowledge about getting a divorce in Oregon to create this article.

My goal was to make this the absolute ultimate guide–not just for people who are getting a divorce in Oregon, but for anyone going through the divorce process anywhere.

What makes these people “experts”?

Listen, I know what you’re thinking. And I’m with you. People throw around the word “expert” these days like it doesn’t mean anything. Write three blog posts about something and suddenly you’re a top authority on the subject. It’s ridiculous.

Obviously, I didn’t want that to happen with this article. So, rest assured, I vetted these people well. Everyone featured here is an award-winning, top-rated, or nationally-recognized divorce attorney or divorce writer with decades of experience. To make it easy to figure out where the information is coming from, I broke it down by expert. You can see who they are and what they said and then you can decide for yourself what to believe.

After each tip is my own summary with what I feel are the most important take-aways, whether you’re getting a divorce in Oregon, Utah, Kansas, or Hawaii.

Also, this is important: if you’re currently starting the divorce process yourself, be sure to download my FREE 26-page PDF guide: Nicole’s 5-Step Divorce Prep Power Plan. It will save you over $10,000 in legal fees alone. I’ll walk you through how to prepare the documents you need, calculate important numbers, and approach the whole process.

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So let’s start exploring the powerful wisdom provided by these 21 experts. The tips are presented in no particular order, so I leave it up to you to decide which ones are most applicable for your own situation.

1. Jeffrey O. Anderson

Attorney Jeff Anderson is featured in this expert guide to getting a divorce in Oregon.A family law attorney who has been practicing in Dallas for 24 years, Jeff writes a popular divorce blog and is considered a leading authority on issues of divorce and the law.

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“If your words or body language disfavor the other parent, your children will know. In the short term that might draw them closer. As they get older, they will understand what you’ve done and it could be devastating to your relationship.”

I absolutely agree with Jeff here. One of the most common stereotypes about divorce is badmouthing your ex to the kids during the whole process. But, despite widespread knowledge of this problem, many parents do still fall into this trap. It’s hard not because you will be so frustrated with your partner at times during the divorce proceedings.

But, as Jeff says so perfectly here, and as I tell all of my clients who are getting a divorce in Oregon, your kids will pick up on this. While it might feel good now if you can get your kids to “side with you” over your partner, this is unhealthy and when they get older they will figure it out and be disillusioned with you. I’ve seen this many times.

Make a vow with your partner from the beginning not to let this happen. If you are particularly angry with your spouse, try to cool off before you go spend time with your kids. Even just 30 seconds of slow breathing can go a long way.

2. Mark R. Ashton

A partner with Fox Rothschild, LP and former chairman of the Family Law Section of the PA Bar Association, Mark has been practicing domestic relations law for 36 years.


“Ask yourself if you were eavesdropping on the meeting between your spouse and his or her lawyer, what story would you be hearing? There are always two sides to a controversy.”

This is great advice. I can’t tell you how often clients tell me terrible stories about things their spouse has done. Then, when we get both of them together into the same room and we’re all talking about it they start to remember that it wasn’t quite as bad as they had initially remembered because the argument was actually partly their own fault too.

What I’ve learned the hard way is that any story a client tells you in confidence is usually exaggerated by about 50%. For a while this fact really bothered me. But now I’ve come to accept it as a natural part of human psychology.

Divorce is a highly emotional time and psychology research has proven many times that our memory is “reconstructive”, influenced strongly by how we are feeling at the time we are recalling the memory. So it’s natural that our memories will be more extreme and 1-sided during a divorce. Just be conscious of this.

I now do a little exercise when I work directly with people who are getting a divorce in Oregon. Every time they tell me about something negative from their marriage I have them also recall something positive. A happy time. This just serves to balance out the ratio of positive to negative emotions. Positive psychologists have determined that our brains and bodies function best on a ratio of 3-5 times positive positive emotion than negative emotion. While I don’t go quite this far (because it would take all day), I do make sure to keep the balance at least above a 1-1 positive to negative ratio and this is something I recommend at all times during the divorce process, if possible.

You can even talk about this with your spouse and both agree. It helps.

3. Daniel Clement

A matrimonial attorney with offices in New York and New Jersey, Dan is the mastermind behind the popular divorce law blog ClementLaw.Com, a leading place for divorcees to find legal advice.

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“Divorce is not a winner take all game. The key to a successful” divorce is compromise. An attempt to win it all only increases acrimony and legal fees.”

One of the reasons I was most interested to survey these divorce experts and write this article was to see what would emerge as the main theme. What is the single most important piece of advice for anyone getting a divorce in Oregon or any other state to follow?

Well, the major theme that came from these tips is basically what Dan is saying here: be nice. Don’t try to crush your spouse and get everything for yourself. You have to be willing to work together and “play ball” with each other if you want to find solutions that work for everyone.

4. Holli T. Dean

Holli T. Dean, Esq. is a family and criminal lawyer at the Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC who is experienced with divorces and child custody issues in the Jacksonville, Florida area.


“Preparation is KEY. Gather all legal documents/account information of you, your spouse, and children while you still have access to them.”

If I had been asked to give my own piece of advice, it probably would have been similar to Holli’s. Once you begin the divorce process they are going to freeze all of your accounts and it gets impossible to close things and open things and make any large purchases without getting a judge’s approval first. It’s a nightmare.

Avoid all of that and get everything organized before you file. It will save you so much hassle in the long run. I explain exactly how to complete all of this preparation step-by-step in my PDF guide: Nicole’s 5-Step Divorce Prep Power Plan. If you don’t have a copy yet, you can grab one for free below.

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5. Jusin L. Kelsey

Father, Husband, Geek, and Mediator, Justin is also the owner of Skylark Law & Mediation, PC, a firm devoted to helping families resolve conflict using peace, not war.

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“Make a plan for today, and tomorrow, and 5 years from now. Be thoughtful and self-reflective. Be flexible. Seek Peace.”

Again, Justin hits on the theme of striving for peace rather than viewing the divorce process as a battle or war with your spouse. He also echos Holli’s sentiments about the importance of planning and preparation.

But I really like that he also adds the caveat of staying flexible too. I’ve seen couples getting a divorce in Oregon who plan everything down to the letter and then completely fall apart when nothing goes according to plan. I’ve also seen the opposite: couples who hardly planned at all but were extremely flexible and made it through easily.

As Justin points out, both qualities are extremely important.

6. Lynne Marie Kohm

Lynne Marie Kohm is a lawyer, author, speaker and law professor at Regent University School of Law dedicated to family restoration through Christian legal principles.


“Sometimes clients arrive in a lawyer’s office thinking the only solution to their marital problems is a complete divorce. Find an attorney who will not only educate you on your rights & duties, but unveil for you all the various strategies available to meet your particular needs.”

This tip was so refreshing to hear. For many divorce lawyers, the situation is similar to that old saying “if all you have is a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.” Specifically, when lawyers specialize in divorce, they tend to see a complete divorce as the answer for every couple.

But, actually, getting a divorce in Oregon and most other states is pretty expensive so it sometimes makes more sense to enter into a different type of legal arrangement. Make sure your lawyer is open to thinking outside the box.

7. Richard “Dick” Price

Dick Price has practiced divorce and family law in Fort Worth for more than 35 years and has been Board Certified as a Specialist in Family Law for more than 30 years.


“Talk to a Collaborative lawyer before you get started. A peaceful divorce and a good relationship post-divorce are possible.”

It’s funny, when I tell people that I practice family and divorce law their initial reaction is usually something like rolling their eyes and saying, “how do you handle all the negativity all day?” I think we just assume that if two people are going through separation then they must be harboring negative feelings toward each other and arguing a lot and such. But that really isn’t my experience.

In fact, most people remain very civil through the process and are able to stay on good terms afterward.

And one of the big keys, as a few of these experts have touched on, is the importance of maintaining a collaborative attitude–seeking peace rather than war–as you try to navigate your divorce.

Yes, it is possible. In fact, it’s surprisingly common.

8. Nancy Hetrick

Nancy A. Hetrick is the founder of Smarter Divorce Solutions in Phoenix Arizona and author or Divorce is Not For Dummies: How to Cover Your Assets.


“If you’re considering divorce, remember you only have one chance to get it right! Make sure you get the right experts on your team!”

When you are choosing experts to help you during the process, it’s easy to just go with whoever is convenient and to think you can always just change later on. But, actually, it’s often really hard to change once you get going. It can create hours and hours of additional work to try and bring on a new person at later stages of a divorce.

Much easier to get it right the first time…

This can be a lot of work. I live in a relatively small state, but even when you are getting a divorce in Oregon here there are literally hundreds of options at every stage of the process. It is exhausting. So you need a good system for how to choose people for your team. If you want help with this, in my Oregon Divorce Guide PDF I provide the strategy I teach my clients to find the perfect lawyer or other expert no matter where you find yourself in the world.

9. Jeanne M. Hannah

A leading authority in interstate, intrastate, and international parental abductions, Jeanne M. Hannah has practiced law for nearly 31 years in Michigan, where she currently resides.


“Unmarried parents or with multicultural ties: Child abductions, inter/intra state or international abductions happen. Lawyer needed ASAP.”

Jeanne’s advice is so important. Of course, she’s absolutely, 100% spot-on correct. Separations can get incredibly complicated when parents aren’t married or when one parent or a child is an international citizen. In these kinds of cases, look for a lawyer who specializes in the issue and seek counsel as soon as possible.

10. Brooke Moore

Brooke Moore is the Founder of MyVirtual.Lawyer, an online law firm providing personalized, convenient, and affordable legal services for family, estate, and small business needs.

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“Divorce is messy. Don’t make it more difficult than it has to be. There are options that help you navigate the process, stay in budget, and reduce conflict. Start there.”

I definitely agree with Brooke here. There are some aspects of divorce that you can save a lot of money by handling yourself, while others you are better off hiring an attorney for. To build on Brooke’s advice, it’s like the classic Serenity Prayer. You need to have the serenity to call in an expert sometimes, the courage to do it yourself when you can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

Actually, you already have the wisdom to know the difference if you have a copy of my guide to getting a divorce in Oregon. I go into detail describing which things you can do on your own and which to hire someone else for. This single 26-page document will save you over $10,000 in legal fees alone, and it’s free.

You can pick that up for free below by entering your first name and email address.

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11. Paul J. Wallin

Mr. Wallin founded Wallin & Klarich in 1981. As the senior partner of Wallin & Klarich, Mr. Wallin has been successfully representing clients for more than 30 years.

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“If you are planning to file for divorce the most important thing to remember is that you need to consider your ‘children first’. Unless it is impossible to come to an agreement, you should do all in your power to reach one with the help of your lawyer.”

This is a really great tip from Paul because he puts this idea of cooperative agreement that we have heard from some other experts into the context of a ‘children first’ mindset. And he’s absolutely right.

Often, I watch my clients getting a divorce in Oregon worry so much about the small details and what those might mean on their children’s lives. But what matters infinitely more for the children is the overall fairness of the outcome. Were you able to amicably come to a fair agreement with your spouse? This teaches kids a positive lesson.

All parents should strive to find a fair, peaceful, and friendly solution in the end–for the kids’ sake.

12. Randall M. Kessler

A founding partner of KS Family Law in Atlanta and author of Divorce: Protect Yourself, Your Kids and Your Future, Randall specializes in divorce for high-profile entertainers and athletes.

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“Get the best lawyer you can. Shop around. Find someone who listens and ‘gets’ you and your goals.”

Another strong theme that is emerging from these experts is the importance of finding the right lawyer. As Lynne Marie Kohm pointed out, above, the right lawyer might even be someone who advises you against a full divorce. If that’s the best option for you, then you need to be open to it.

Actually, we recently conducted our own Facebook poll of divorcees and found that 82% said they wished they had chosen a different lawyer back when they started.

13. Karen Covy

A divorce adviser, attorney, mediator, and coach, Karen is dedicated to helping people get through their divorce so they can get on with the rest of their lives.

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“The way you go through your divorce will directly affect your life after divorce. Do your best. Be kind to yourself. You’re going to be okay.”

This is great because it’s something I also emphasize with my clients getting a divorce in Oregon: divorce is a transition period where you are essentially building a new identity and a new life for yourself that doesn’t involve this other person.

Yes, the process itself can be difficult and I’m sorry about that. But it’s better to spend a little more effort during your divorce to do it right so that you can build a life that you truly are excited about living after it is complete.

14. Robyn E. Ross

Robyn E. Ross, Esq. is a Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and one of the founding partners of Ross & Calandrillo, LLC, a full service family law firm in Mountainside, New Jersey

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“The parties control the length, cost and emotional toll of divorce. Commit from the beginning that it will be an amicable divorce and it will be”

Yes! I love this tip from Robyn. It’s very in-line with what others have said in terms of being nice and seeking peace. But she adds the awesome component of belief. Hundreds of studies have confirmed the existence of the “self-fulfilling prophecy effect,” whereby things tend to turn out the way people think they will because we unconsciously act in ways that make our own prophecies about the world come true.

It’s a version of the placebo effect.

So I like what Robyn does here, where is apply this scientifically-proven idea to divorce. The results are profound. If you go in expecting it to be a “war” or a “battle” then you will probably find what you are looking for. But if you go in expecting a cooperative, amicable exchange and a mutually-beneficial solution then that’s what you’ll likely get.

Don’t be unrealistic, but do be positive and sensible.

15. Douglas A. Thomas

Doug and his team at Divorce Matters work with families in Colorado to achieve optimal outcomes in the highly emotional, individual, and sensitive areas of divorce, child custody, and child support.

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“The legal system rarely provides fairness or justice. Be kind to yourself, be respectful to your former spouse, and seek counsel from your attorney and justice will find you.”

Again, Doug is hitting on the idea of respect and kindness toward your former spouse. It’s funny that this is the main tip from all of these highly successful divorce attorneys. Not a tip about how to get a few more dollars during the divorce. After spending their career doing this, they tend the think the most important thing, in the end, is being a nice person throughout and maintaining a nice relationship with your spouse.

Definitely something to think about.

16. Amy A. Edwards

An attorney in Greenville, North Carolina, Amy has practiced family law for 18 years and is certified as a Family Law Specialist by the NC State Bar Board of Legal Specialization.

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“Meet with an attorney to pre-plan your separation before you separate, while you can still access important paperwork, take action to protect your finances, mitigate or erase marital/financial fault, and decide what to do with the kids if you separate without custody documents.”

As you know if you’ve read my guide to getting a divorce in Oregon, I’m a big fan of this advice from Amy here. There are a lot of things you can do before you even file for a divorce that will really speed up the process and simplify everything a lot later on. Obviously, this article isn’t the place to get into the specifics of that stuff, but, if you’re interested, you can download my free PDF guide to getting a divorce in Oregon, below, for specific, step-by-step instructions about what you can do.

And, as Amy suggests, it’s always good to speak with an attorney before filing any life-changing documents. Even just booking an hour to sit down with an attorney once you think you have everything in order, but before you file, is a really good idea.

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17. Lisa M. Giese

A partner with the law firm of Kollias & Giese, P.C. in DuPage County, Illinois, Lisa M. Giese practices primarily in the area of domestic relations. I highly recommend her Divorce Lawyer Blog.


“Don’t let your emotions overcome your rational judgment when it comes to financial decision-making. Always put your children first, even if that means you have to make concessions. You are a parent first and foremost and that role is forever. Hire an attorney whose judgment you trust; you are paying them a lot of money and it’s only worth it if you respect their strategy and follow their guidance. Expect to compromise -there’s no winner or loser in the divorce process and the more adversarial it is, the more it will cost and the more stress it will cause.”

This piece for Lisa seems to perfectly encapsulate three of the main themes we have been seeing from the other experts here: getting the right attorney, focusing on the kids, and being open to compromise. Lisa also has a great word of warning on staying rational and not letting emotions overcome judgement.

As I have already mentioned, high levels of emotions during divorce are a major problem for various other reasons as well. So it was great to see Lisa bring that issue up here again and tie it to rationality.

Indeed, studies show that in moments of high emotion, our thinking can be taken over–or “highjacked”–by the more primitive fight-or-flight regions of the brain. To combat this, I really suggest working on some breathing exercises and simple mindfulness meditation practices.

18. Carolyn J. Woodruff

The mastermind behind the popular divorce website Ask Carolyn, Carolyn Woodruff is an experienced North Carolina Family Law Specialist who has been practicing for more than twenty years.

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“Plan, plan, and plan. Think with your head and not your heart! Then, have a Plan B.”

I love Carolyn’s tip as it perfectly sums up the need for preparation and also, at the same time, it expresses the awareness that you can’t prepare for everything. You need a backup plan and you need to be flexible and go in with a positive attitude.

19. Susan J. Mundahl

Known as a compassionate and family-focused attorney, Susan has spent 30 years handling divorces, custody, parenting time, child support/protection, and adoption in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

 Facebook –  LinkedIn –  Website

“You took the time to find an attorney you trust (I hope) and you’ve shelled out some money now take their advice. You’re paying them for their expertise.”

Have you ever found yourself going back to your next appointment with your doctor or your personal trainer or career coach and having to admit that you didn’t really follow through on the changes you talked about during the last session?


As a lawyer who has helped many couples getting a divorce in Oregon, I’ve seen this first-hand. Often, clients will leave my office motivated and fired up with a list of tasks to complete. But they sometimes fail to get these things done when the week is over. What went wrong? Usually better goal setting and time management strategies solve the problem.

So set specific, actionable goals with implementation intentions and follow through on the things your lawyer tells you to do. After all, isn’t it crazy to pay someone so much money and not take their advice?

20. Elizabeth Edwards

A family law attorney and family mediator in South Florida, Elizabeth focuses on divorce issues and has extensive experience in negotiation, mediation, and trial for divorce cases.

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“Don’t go into your divorce blind. Before starting the divorce process, it’s important to know what comprises your marital estate. Be aware of what you and your spouse own, what is owed, and make copies of your statements. Next, assemble the right team of professionals. Who you hire can greatly affect not only the outcome of your divorce, but also your daily emotional and financial wellbeing. Lastly, love your child more than you dislike your spouse. Custody disputes should focus on the best interests of your child and how your child can best maintain a happy and healthy childhood. Don’t use your child as a tool to upset your spouse or for financial gain.”

Wow, another great example of the extreme importance of preparing as much as possible before you even file the paperwork. Great advice from Elizabeth. You really do want to have printed out paper copies of everything. Don’t rely on your spouse for anything and don’t figure you can always access stuff later. Get all the documents printed out and in your actual possession.

For a full list of the documents to assemble, download my free PDF guide to getting a divorce in Oregon at the bottom of this page.

Elizabeth’s tip also nicely touches on the selecting the right team to help you, focusing on the well-being of your child and your family, and, of course, being “nice,” as so many of the experts have.

21. Marco Brown

Even though he has to vacation once every three months to keep his sanity, Marco loves his job as a divorce attorney. He is the author of a fantastic guide to divorce in Utah.

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“Be nice. Fight really, really hard — but be nice. You’ll get better results and your judge will like you. You’ll never regret being nice.”

Well, I didn’t plan this, but Marco’s tip is actually a perfect one to end on. He hits home that single message that seemed to be a common thread running through nearly all of this advice from the top divorce experts: be nice.

I hope you found this article useful. My sincere gratitude to these wonderful experts for their contributions.

For more information on getting a divorce in Oregon, or in any state for that matter, you can download my free 26-page PDF guide. It will save you over $10,000 in legal fees alone.

Inside this special PDF you’ll see:

    • How to finish your divorce in 43% less time

    • Instructions to calculate important numbers

    • How to protect your assets during divorce

    • A full list of documents to prepare

    • My proven system for finding the perfect lawyer

    • Much more…

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