Top Ten Mistakes People Make in Divorce

There are many things that people do wrong in a divorce.  Really, too many to list here and so much depends on the case.  But broadly speaking, avoid doing the following:

10. Giving too much weight to what friends and family say:

While many people have gone through divorce, every case is different. Assuming that your case results should be like the divorce of someone you know can set you up for unrealistic expectations. Not only do laws vary from state to state, but different judges can decide the same case differently. Keep this in mind when discussing a friend’s divorce outcome and comparing that to your situation.

9. Being overly anxious to let a judge decide your case:

Although a judge can and will make a final decision in your case if you are unable to reach an agreement, you should understand that a judge will be a lot further removed from your case than you are and will make objective decisions that must conform to the rules of law. These results will not always strike you as fair or just. Being anxious to have a judge decide your case may be rushing to a result that you have minimal control over. Keep in mind that there are certainly cases in which no agreement could be reached and it is clear that the judge will have to make a decision, but reviewing the pros and cons of litigating a matter prior to rushing to court is always prudent.

8. Getting involved in a new relationship:
Although sometimes new relationships are already in the works when a divorce happens, it is prudent to consider postponing actively seeking a new relationship. New relationships often charge emotions in a way that can be unproductive to resolving your case. This is particularly true when children are involved in the divorce. A new significant other can also be perceived as shifting focusing from the child since children in general will have a lot to adjust to during the divorce process. Ideally a child should not be introduced to a new significant other until it is a well-established relationship.

7. Getting married again shortly after a divorce:
For many of the same reasons as #8 above it can make sense to take a careful and thoughtful path to re-entering marriage after a divorce. Keeping in mind that after a divorce there is still a fair amount of dust to settle as both parties re-establish themselves and acclimate to non-married life. Often times people rush into relationships that represent very different dynamics than their previous marriage and remarry without adequate time to truly establish a long term bond.

6. Not staying on good terms with ex
When parties are getting divorced there is often a lot of animosity that can interfere with resolution of a case. While strong emotions are to be expected do not overlook the long term benefits, particularly when children are involved, of maintaining a cordial relationship with a soon to be ex-spouse. Not only can it reduce costs as it allows you to discuss and resolve issues directly with your spouse, but it also can make the overall process less adversarial and more cooperative if you are on reasonably good terms with your ex-spouse.

5. Not consulting an attorney:
Even if you can’t afford an attorney or believe that you do not need an attorney, consulting with an attorney to obtain an overview of your rights and potential legal issues is only prudent and in many cases is free. Going into the divorce process assuming that your case is easy or will be amicable can lead to oversights of important issues or being unprepared for core case issues.

4. Not obtaining all relevant financial information:
People maintain their finances in different ways, some couples have total financial transparency and others maintain very separate finances. Regardless of how a couple maintains their finances at the time of divorce it is important to have full financial transparency and if disclosure is not forthcoming it may be necessary to invest in obtaining the necessary documentation and reports to provide a complete understanding of all assets at issue. Items such as business evaluations, pension valuations or other financial calculations should be considered when dividing assets and while these often cost some money it can be well worth the expense if these assets are significant. Trying to short cut the process could undercut a fair division of assets.

3. Not acknowledging the value of two parents:
Undoubtedly the most difficult issues dealt with in divorce are those related to children. It is hard to be faced with a scenario in which you are no longer looking at spending every day with your children. The concept of sharing parenting time often brings out the worst in people. While it is understandable that both parents want to maximize their time with their children all too often parents fail to truly recognize how valuable two parents are to children. The end result can be costly litigation and investigations that not only deteriorate the co-parenting relationship but also creates significant financial hardship.

2. Not dealing with debt:
Financial hardship is a very common cause of marital strife that can lead to divorce. Despite that debt can often lead to divorce people can often overlook fully dealing with debt in divorce. This is particularly true when the debt has gone into default and people do not believe there is an immediate need to resolve the debt. Unfortunately this approach can create unresolved debt issues that can create problems long down the road. So it is important to deal with all debt issues at the time of divorce so as to avoid circumstances down the road where a creditor is seeking to collect for marital debt that was not addressed in the divorce.

1. Not choosing the right lawyer:
When people are searching for a divorce attorney they often go into the hunt with an idea in mind of what type of attorney they want. Some people want an aggressive attorney, or an attorney of a certain sex or a “men’s rights” attorney because they think it will provide them an advantage in their case. While trying to find an attorney that fits certain standards or objectives is appropriate it is also equally important to learn about your attorney’s work habits, do they return calls are they organized and prepared are they experienced. These details will help you determine if the attorney you are considering is a total fit for your divorce needs.