The process of getting a divorce is fraught with emotion and it is easy to become overwhelmed by both the legal and financial issues surrounding divorce, which can lead to costly mistakes. Here are 8 common divorce pitfalls you need to avoid:
1. Letting family and friends influence you.
It’s natural to want the comfort offered by family and friends when you’re going through a divorce. But when you let those closest to you have too much influence, it could result in your making bad decisions. Accept their comfort, but be careful about their advice — and never take legal advice from anyone other than your attorney.
2. Becoming a financial victim.
If you are having problems separating logic from emotion, let a financial adviser help you clear your head. Nothing snaps people back into reality quicker than a spreadsheet detailing what kind of income they can expect after a divorce. A financial adviser can help you understand the money consequences of your divorce when it comes to taxes, retirement, and other estate planning issues.
3. Refusing to mediate.
You will be better served in the long run if you keep yourself open to mediation. Courts tend to view spouses who won’t negotiate unfavorably; being stubborn and trying to use the court to exact revenge is likely to harm you more than your spouse. Instead, consider mediation as a less expensive and time-consuming way for you and your spouse to reach a settlement that will result in a divorce that both of you can live with.
4. Rushing settlement decisions.
While you probably want your divorce to be over as soon as possible, letting impatience take over compromises your ability to make good decisions on issues that you will have to live with for a long time. Even under the best of circumstances, divorce takes time. By rushing through important decisions, you may be compromising the quality of life for you and your children long after the divorce is final.
5. Failing to do post-divorce financial planning
In order to make the best decisions about your divorce settlement, you have to do a post-divorce budget so you know what you will need to live on after the divorce is final. Otherwise, you may find yourself having to work two jobs to meet your needs.
6. Failing to inform your attorney about agreements with your ex.
Sometimes divorcing couples will come to an agreement between them and fail to inform their attorneys of their decision. While it’s good to be able to have open discussions with your ex about settlement issues, it’s a mistake to do so outside the divorce process where everything must be documented. And remember that your attorney is there to look after your best interests; your ex is not.
7. Letting your emotions take over.
Even if you have every reason to be angry, you have to contain your emotions so your judgment is not obscured by anger. It is often hard to separate logic from emotion, but you need to try, especially when it comes to making legal decisions. Find a different outlet for your emotions, or you may harm yourself financially.
8. Not putting the children first.
Most parents try to do a good job of keeping their children out of the middle of their divorce disagreements, but anyone can succumb to using their kids as leverage to hurt the other parent when emotions run high. If you are ever tempted, remember that this behavior not only hurts your children, it can also be used against you when it comes to custody and visitation.
We know that family law issues are often difficult, life-changing events. We also know how much it helps to have knowledgeable legal advocates on your side to help you obtain the best possible outcome. Contact us today for your free consultation.