Divorce is complicated. There are so, so many decisions to make. Every fight you have with your spouse requires an investment of your energy and money. It’s essential to pick and choose your battles. Here is an exercise you can do right now to decide what is and isn’t worth fighting over. Here is an activity you can do to help simplify the process of reaching an agreement with your spouse.

 

Get some paper and a pen. Then, set a timer for fifteen minutes. Write down everything important to you in a divorce settlement. You won’t think of everything, but that’s the point.

 

Look for any intangibles on your list. If you wrote down anything like “justice” or “make them understand what they did wrong,” that isn’t something that anyone can quantify. No court can grant them to you. Cross those off the list.

 

Consider crossing off any specific possessions which are not of sentimental value. After all, it’s just stuff. Remember that each thing you cross off your list is one less thing you need to invest your energy in.

 

Take a look at what’s left. Write those items in a new list, ranked by importance. Not everything can be a top priority, no matter how it may feel at that moment.

 

Look at your top 5. Those are the things worthy of your energy.

 

If any of your items are vague, take some time to make them more concrete.

 

If any of your items are umbrella topics like, “the kids,” write down all the facets of that topic until you have a detailed list. Then, repeat the exercise for each.

 

Now, look at the bottom of your list. Think of the things that are at the bottom of your list as bargaining chips. You may be able to trade them to your spouse for things that matter more to you.

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