There is a lot on the line in a divorce. From determining child custody arrangements to dividing up properties and assets, the stakes are high throughout the entire legal process – as well as plenty of ways to make errors.
The following are the ten most common divorce mistakes and how to avoid them:
- Believing litigation is the only option to reach a divorce agreement. Court litigation is often hotly contested and more expensive. However, our Glen Allen and Midlothian divorce attorneys at DeFazio Bal have seen even the angriest couples mediate their divorce successfully. Mediation is a non-adversarial process where couples meet for several sessions with a third party mediator to work out their divorce terms. The mediation process is fairer, quicker and cheaper than court litigation.
- Letting your emotions get the best of you. Whether it’s about a specific asset or a change in custody schedule, emotional arguments could be about anything – and more than likely not a big deal. The emotional arguments can make the divorce more complicated, and take much longer to complete.
- Taking legal advice from everyone. While people mean well when they offer advice they believe can be helpful to your specific situation, all divorces should not be treated equally. Your lawyer is the best source for advice on legal issues regarding your divorce.
- Failing to speak up. By not having the confidence to voice your opinions and letting guilt or fear dictate the process, then you will fail to address your best interests. Always remember, you deserve to start the next chapter of your life on the right track.
- Bad-mouthing your ex in front of the children. Putting your ex down creates confusion, insecurity, guilt, sadness and depression in kids. While minding your tongue around the children can be a challenge, doing so can be the greatest reward for your family – especially since both of you will need to cooperate with each other once the divorce is finalized.
- Keeping your children in the dark. Particularly true with older children, they need enough information to understand that everything will be fine in the end. You must talk to your kids about separation, how it will affect their lives, and how much both parents will continue to love them. It is best to have both parents, if possible, to have this discussion with their children.
- Refusing to co-parent. While divorce changes your marital status, it doesn’t change your parenting status. Expressing animosity toward your ex can create a huge rift in your family. Instead, be a supportive co-parent that appreciates everything you ex does for your children – both in front of your ex and to your kids.
- Failing to anticipate how long the divorce proceedings will last. Many people believe that divorce can be a relatively smooth and amicable process; however, there are also many divorce cases that last more than three years to finalize. If you divorce is hotly contested, remember to take the high road, especially during bouts of emotional arguments.
- Rushing into another relationship. Your entire world has been shaken up by divorce and you might not be thinking clearly about your love life as soon as your divorce is finalized. While ti is healthy to share some laughs and enjoy some innocent flirty to prove that you still got it, don’t let your positive emotions for the moment go beyond that. Only focus on becoming the best person you can be.
- Failing to plan for life after divorce. Divorce is a stressful endeavor that can cause your finances to be restricted, making it difficult to think beyond the present. However, you need to consider crucial financial decisions around important issues, such as whether to keep or sell your home or to receive alimony and child support. Create a financial plan, preferably with the help of a financial advisor, which will provide guidance and clarity on your financial goals and a budget to manage your money with your future in mind.