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Five Mistakes To Avoid In Divorce

Going through a divorce can be devastating. When a marriage is ending stress levels and emotions run high. It is easy to make unwise decisions while in that emotional state. Having an experienced divorce lawyer on your side through the process is critical.

Following are five common mistakes to avoid during the divorce process.

1. Don’t Use Your Children As Leverage

As painful and stressful as the divorce process is for you, it is equally if not more upsetting for your children. Your children are innocent parties in the divorce process, not pawns to be leveraged to get your way in the proceedings. Speaking ill of your spouse and manipulating your children’s behavior in order to punish your spouse is not wise. Doing so could not only be severely looked down upon by the judge, but more importantly, could cause irreparable damage to your relationship with your children.

2. Don’t Make Unwise Financial Decisions

Be accurate in the financial documentation that you provide even in preliminary legal divorce conversations. Trying to hide assets or not fully disclosing accounts will only negatively impact your legal standings in the end. Work with a financial professional before submitting your living expenses for initial budgeting of temporary alimony. Those figures will be difficult to revise later in the established divorce proceedings.

Don’t be a financial victim. Making the assumption that because you are not aware of your financial standings your finances after your divorce will remain the same as they do now is a huge mistake. Make yourself aware of your family’s assets and financial standing. Your lack of knowledge about your finances could provide your spouse with an unfair advantage in settling financial assets. Make copies of financial documents and legal records, including, but not limited to, bank account and investment statements, credit card statements, tax returns, property deeds, wills, trusts, vehicle titles, and insurance policies.

Fully evaluate any settlement proposals. Be aware of how your settlement will be impacted by taxes to determine if the settlement is what you truly want. Evaluate the value of investments and assets after taxes, or better yet, consult with a legal professional to better understand the settlement proposal before you sign. Your settlement should be evaluated not just for the here and now, rather for the years ahead as well. An experienced divorce lawyer and financial planner will help you evaluate the settlement in consideration of inflation, changes in living expenses, taxes, retirement plans, medical expenses, health insurance costs, and even planning for your children’s college.

After the divorce be sure to update any items where your spouse was established as the beneficiary. Wills and testaments, insurance policies, and retirement planning accounts should be evaluated and probably will need to be revised.

3. Don’t Disregard Court Orders

A court order is not a suggestion, it is an order. Whether it is a temporary order or not, it must be followed. Failing to follow a court order can have serious ramifications: contempt of court, fines, and even jail time. Disregarding a court order during the divorce process will be looked down upon by the court.

4. Don’t Be Too Attached To Assets Or The Family Home

Your family home may be filled with fond memories that you are not ready to let go of – happy times in the marriage, holidays, and the kids’ special milestones. Don’t let those memories cloud your judgement on the home ownership decision. Do the math to determine if keeping the home will be realistic in your new financial situation.  Moving to a smaller home or condo may make better financial sense. A fresh set of neighbors and daily routines may be the clean slate you need. An experienced divorce attorney will help you evaluate if fighting for the family home is in your best interest.

5. Don’t Forget Your Filter

The divorce process is emotionally straining. Emotions run the gamut from sadness to anger and everything in between. With emotions running high, it is easy to make unwise choices with how and to whom you share your feelings. It is easy to slide into negative conversations about your spouse to close friends and family. Unfiltered conversations put your friends and families in the middle of the dispute and force them to take sides. Ultimately your friends, not you, will have to decide if they will remain friendly with both parties or not.

On the other hand, don’t rely on your trusted friends and family members too much while in the divorce process – especially for legal advice. While their intentions may be good, your friends and family will be offering feedback that is not based on your unique divorce situation. Of course, lean on your friends and family for emotional support. But when it comes to legal and financial advice, leave that to an experienced trusted professional divorce attorney.

Your spoken and typed words cannot be taken back. More importantly, correspondence in writing can easily be used as evidence in your divorce proceedings. Think of everything in the digital world as a paper trail and be wise in what you write. Voicemails, text messages, and emails can all be used in a court of law.  Additionally, be careful of what you publish in the digital social sphere, on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Information that you share on your social media platforms may also be used against you in a court of law. There are best practices in how to utilize social media during a divorce, keep these guides in mind as you guard your filter when going through a divorce.

While these five rules cover the most common mistakes divorcing couples fall into, consulting with a trusted divorce lawyer is the best rule of all. If the divorce is amicable, an experienced divorce attorney will help guide you through the paperwork and legal process. If the divorce is more contentious, a divorce attorney with a proven track record will fight for your best interests in court. Turn to the divorce lawyers at Hunter Law Firm. Serving all of Hampton Roads, Hunter Law Firm is an experienced team of family law attorneys here to provide you sound legal counsel to guide you through the divorce process. To discuss your divorce with one of our experienced lawyers, contact us online or call one of our four convenient offices.

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