5 Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Divorce
Even though it’s often the best solution for all parties, going through a divorce is often a difficult experience. It can be expensive, time-consuming, and emotionally taxing for everyone involved. However, if you take care to avoid these common mistakes, this can make things easier for you and your family.
1. Not Learning Your Options Beforehand
Before diving into the divorce process, you should know that you have several ways to go about it. The method that works best for you will depend on the specifics of your situation.
For example, if you and your spouse are able to work together and come up with an agreement that’s fair to all parties and the specifics of your divorce aren’t too complex, the agreement can be drafted by an attorney at a relatively low cost.
The same attorney cannot represent both you and your spouse and both of you should have your own attorney. However, the more that you and your spouse can agree on, the less costly the process with be. Also, no one has to review or approve of what you have agreed to as you are free to agree on how you wish to resolve your case.
If you choose, you can retain the services of a mediator. A professional mediator is a neutral third party that helps facilitate the negotiation process. They’re not there to take sides but to help ensure that the process remains civil and fair to all parties — especially children. With a mediator, you and your spouse will still have the final say regarding the details of your divorce.
Most experienced family law mediators will want both parties to have their own attorneys. Mediators do not provide legal advice. Therefore, having counsel is best for both you and your spouse. The mediator can meet with you and your spouse without attorneys present if that is agreeable to everyone involved. The attorneys will ultimately draft the agreement that is reached with assistance from the mediator.
Hiring a divorce attorney is a beneficial option, regardless of whether you and your spouse are on good terms. An experienced attorney will help you come to an agreement that works best for everyone.
2. Not Presenting a Clear Financial Picture
Before starting the divorce process, both parties should have a clear picture of their financial situation. Both parties must account for all assets, along with any debt you may have. Here are some important assets to remember when you’re taking account:
- Bank accounts
- Retirement accounts and pensions
- Valuable personal property
Always make sure you’re honest and open about your finances throughout the process. Keeping secret bank accounts, or hiding assets of any kind, will only serve to undermine the fairness of the process. It will likely be unsuccessful as well. There’s no reason to take a bad situation and make it worse, so try to be forthright in providing information.
3. Letting Emotions Affect Your Decision Making
Although strong emotions are often difficult to manage, avoid letting your emotions run the show.
Legally speaking, the divorce process is not intended to heal emotional wounds. It’s designed to help you come to an agreement on practical matters, such as finances and child custody, so everyone can move on with their lives.
4. Not Putting Your Children First
The lives of your children are about to change significantly, and they’re probably scared, confused, and concerned about the future. Children often suffer the most from a divorce, so make sure that they feel like they’re a priority.
If you know that joint custody would be better for the kids, then avoid trying to gain sole custody. Avoid speaking negatively about your spouse to your children, and try not to complain to your children about financial issues or anything else pertaining to the divorce. While venting might make you feel better, this can put your children in an awkward position and can potentially cause lasting emotional damage to them.
5. Not Being Realistic
However you might feel about it, the fact remains that your divorce will lead to a change in your lifestyle. Depending on the circumstances, you may find yourself with a reduced income and less time with your children. Be sure to have realistic, practical expectations.
Divorce isn’t an easy thing for anyone to go through. However, the sooner you accept your new situation, the sooner you can begin to make the best of it.
If you’re considering divorce, contact Bunde & Roberts, P.C., and let our experienced attorneys help.