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5 Major Mistakes to Avoid in a Divorce

In Law
February 24, 2024
5 Major Mistakes to Avoid in a Divorce

Divorce is a challenging life experience that’s made even more difficult by all of the financial and legal complexities involved. Even with the best intentions, people often fall into common traps that can prolong the process, escalate conflicts, and lead to unwanted outcomes. 

Being aware of these pitfalls can help you avoid them.

  1. Letting Emotions Lead the Way

Divorce is, without a doubt, an emotional rollercoaster. It’s natural to feel a mix of sadness, anger, relief, and fear. However, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is letting these strong emotions drive your decisions. When emotions take the lead, you might find yourself fighting over every little thing, which only makes the process longer, more painful, and often more expensive.

To avoid this, try to approach the divorce process as calmly and rationally as possible. Think of it more like a business negotiation. This doesn’t mean you should bottle up your feelings. Instead, find healthy outlets for them, such as talking to a trusted friend, writing in a journal, or seeing a therapist. This can help you keep a clear head when making important decisions.

  1. Not Planning Financially

Many people underestimate the financial complexities of divorce. It’s not just about splitting bank accounts or deciding who gets the house. You need to think about your future financial stability, which includes understanding your current financial situation, potential alimony or child support payments, and how to budget for your new life.

You can plan ahead by gathering all your financial documents, like bank statements, tax returns, and bills, to get a clear picture of your finances. Consider consulting with a financial planner who specializes in divorce. They can help you understand the long-term impacts of your financial decisions and help you plan for a stable future.

  1. Overlooking the Impact on Children

If you have children, it’s crucial to remember that the divorce isn’t just about you and your spouse; it’s also a significant change in their lives. Children can be very resilient, but they can also be deeply affected by the conflict and uncertainty that often come with divorce.

Keep the lines of communication open with your children. Reassure them that both parents love them and that the divorce is not their fault. Try to keep their routine as normal as possible, and shield them from any disputes between you and your spouse. (It’s also a good idea to consider counseling for them, which can provide a safe space to express their feelings.)

  1. Going It Alone Without an Attorney

Some people think they can save money by handling the divorce themselves, especially if it seems like it will be uncontested. While this might work in the simplest cases, divorce can quickly become complicated. Without legal guidance, you might end up with an unfair settlement or, worse, legal issues that could have been avoided.

“Regardless of whether you have children, own real property, or intend to seek permanent alimony, it is not in your best interests to approach the divorce process unassisted, particularly if your spouse has the benefit of legal representation,” Bamieh & De Smeth points out. “You will have a much better chance of obtaining your desired outcome if you are represented by an experienced divorce lawyer.”

Even if you’re hoping for an amicable divorce, it’s wise to at least consult with an attorney. They can provide valuable advice on your rights and what you can expect during the process. If you’re worried about the cost, look for attorneys who offer free consultations or consider mediation, which can be a more affordable option.

  1. Trying to “Win” the Divorce

Viewing the divorce as a battle to be won can lead to drawn-out negotiations, higher legal fees, and more emotional distress. The truth is, in divorce, there are no winners. The goal should be to reach a fair and equitable settlement that allows both parties to move forward with their lives.

You can avoid this by focusing on what’s truly important and being willing to compromise on the rest. Decide on your non-negotiables, like issues involving your children, but be flexible on other matters. This can help you reach a settlement more quickly and with less animosity.

Move With Poise and Precision

A divorce can be extremely scary and intimidating. It’s a new adventure that’s full of twists and turns that you can’t always be ready for. However, you can control your approach. By making poised decisions with the help of an experienced divorce attorney, you can protect your best interests and avoid being taken advantage of. At the end of the day, this can help you move on and heal much faster than you otherwise would.