The divorce process is one that poses a number of emotional and legal challenges. Thinking about your situation the way a divorce lawyer would, though, can save you a lot of time, grief, and money. If you're faced with the prospect of divorce, here's what an attorney will tell you to do.

Don't Focus on "Winning"

In the context of family law, some folks think winning means maximizing pain for their ex. Judges aren't fond of folks who come into court trying to win, and more importantly, setting win conditions for your divorce means you'll be engaged in a costly and long fight that yields little in the way of rewards.

You can't eat revenge, so you need to stay focused on your goals. This means ensuring your rights are protected and that you'll have a living arrangement that's survivable.

Play It Cool

Blowing up in a hearing, deposition, conference, or court session is never a good look. No matter how much your feelings may be eating at you, an outburst is mostly just going to provide fuel to claims being made about you. If you can't handle a discussion without getting emotional, it may be best to let your divorce lawyer speak on your behalf.

Along the same lines, try to be self-aware about your motivations. For example, are you worried about your child's well-being or just trying to get back at your ex? Being honest about these issues will cast you in a better light in the judge's mind.

Outline Your Goals

When you begin negotiating, you should have some idea of what you want to come away with. Foremost, focus on getting the things you absolutely need. Work your way down the list of goals, and try to establish what is essential, desirable, nice-to-have, and unnecessary. Also, be honest about the things you consider downright negatives. If you can trade something you hate and don't want, such as your partner's hideous sports cars, to get something you absolutely need, don't hesitate to make it happen. Present this list to your divorce lawyer, and be prepared to give a few things up.

Document Serious Concerns

If you happen to be worried about something specific, such as physically abusive behavior toward your child by your partner, make sure you can document it. Have copies of police reports ready, know who responded to calls, and be able to name witnesses who can be deposed.