A divorce is stressful in the best of circumstances. Your financial and emotional future hangs in the balance, as the terms of the divorce settlement will often impact your life for decades to come.
In order to help the process go as smoothly as possible, and to give yourself the best chance of obtaining a favorable settlement, here are five common mistakes to avoid:
Losing your cool in public. Writing nasty or even threatening letters or emails, posting things on Facebook you’ll regret later. Yes, emotions can run high during a divorce, but we all know nothing goes away on the Internet, and it’s really embarrassing if something you posted six months ago in a moment of anger turns up in your divorce case. Things will run much more smoothly if you stay calm – or at least express your anger in private.
Dating a new partner before the divorce is finalized. Typically one party will move forward before the other one and when the faster moving party begins dating it can complicate the divorce case. The non-dating party may choose to stall the divorce or a possible settlement simply to punish the dating party. Therefore waiting to date is best, but if that is not possible, then discretion is best.
Not educating yourself on the implications of your decisions. Your divorce is going to have important financial implications for your future. It’s important to educate yourself on your rights and the options available to you. Don’t forget to look at the tax consequences of any financial arrangement you’re planning on making. Don’t sign the final divorce decree before reading it carefully and making sure you understand everything. And be sure that you have an experienced divorce lawyer guiding you through the process!
Having the same lawyer that your spouse has. Your spouse’s attorney can’t protect your interests and your spouse’s interests at the same time. You need a lawyer who’s going to look out for your interests exclusively. Even having a neutral attorney is usually not a good idea as they will typically only assist both parties in reaching an agreement and cannot give either side legal advice. Using the same attorney may save money in the short run, but it can be a disaster for your financial future. Make sure your lawyer is fighting for your interests and no one else’s.
Don’t seek control of assets you won’t be able to pay for. It can be sad, but if you can’t pay for the vacation home, you’re generally going to be better off letting your spouse have it. You want to do whatever you can to make sure you’re financially protected and that you don’t have the stress of worrying about money on top of the stress of the divorce.
Divorce is a difficult and stressful process – I understand that. If you’re going through divorce, I would love to help you through it. Contact me today to discuss your situation.