When a couple has reached the point of divorce in their relationship, they face one of the most difficult and trying times in their lives. The decision of divorce begins to tear away the moral fiber of the family, long before they enter a courtroom. During such an emotional time, the help of an experienced and skilled attorney is invaluable. This article features five mistakes that are commonly made by a divorcing couple. Avoiding these errors will ensure the future of all people involved.
1. Relationship disasters
When divorce is inevitable, honest communication is key. No matter how hard it is, your partner deserves the respect of being told of your plans. Sneaking around to accomplish your agenda without letting your spouse know, is immoral and it destroys trust. While you may not think trust matters at this point, you are wrong. There are many details to attend to when dissolving a marriage, and taking “shots” at each other will make them more painful and less productive. Here are a few examples of behavior that will destroy trust:
- Moving possessions out of the home a little at a time so your spouse will not notice.
- Talking about your spouse to your family and friends in a negative light.
- Securing a new living arrangement before your spouse knows you are leaving.
- Changing important things like insurance coverage, bank accounts, and mailing addresses for your mail.
- Being stubborn and unwilling to reach an agreement with your spouse regarding separation.
- Dating and putting yourself on the “market” before the divorce is final.
- Using your child to side with you just to hurt your spouse.
- Hiring a strong-willed attorney for the purpose of punishing your spouse.
2. Money / Finances
Money is probably the single most fought about the topic during a divorce. No matter how involved a person is in the family finances, rarely will they know everything that needs to be addressed. There are so many financial considerations in a divorce that we could write an entire article on this mistake. Here are some highlights:
3. Underestimating your financial needs
- Sometimes we think we need less to live than we do. Reality never quite compares to the numbers on the paper. Living expenses, child care, illness, and job loss are facts of life. If a person is surviving on a financial tightrope, they are asking for a disaster.
- Failing to consider investments, interests, taxes, and other financial matters can ruin you financially.
- Trying to hide or hoard money so your spouse is unaware of it.
- Trying to save money by canceling health insurance policies, life insurance policies, and automobile insurance.
- Selling possessions before your spouse knows of your divorce plans.
- Canceling credit cards, or charging excessively for spite
4. Giving it all
- Some people simply think they can walk away with the shirt on their back and give their spouse everything and everyone will be happy. The truth is, both spouses will have responsibilities to creditors, the children, and their future. While walking away seems like a good idea when you want to escape the fire, it will come back to haunt you. Instead of throwing up both hands in defeat, allow your attorney to negotiate a settlement that works for everyone.
5. Not accepting mediation
- Even in the most civil divorces, problems arise from property division, child custody, child support, retirement considerations, financial obligations, and alimony. Allow a mediator to advise with a logical and fair agreement that benefits both spouses and more importantly protects the children.
- Seek further help if you need help with co-parenting or learning to maintain a positive parenting relationship.
It is important to conduct yourself properly during the divorce. A good family law attorney will expose the wrongs you attempted when you go to court. If the judge believes you are hiding assets or being unreasonable, he may lean more toward the spouse who is putting the needs of the children first, and trying to maintain a healthy relationship with their soon to be ex. Being difficult as a way to hurt each other, fighting, and just being cruel will not earn you any points with the court. Instead, opt for a civilized and fair divorce for the sake of everyone involved. Now is the time to love your children more than you dislike each other. Being an adult means we do not always have to act on our feelings. Divorce will test you, but with the right support and attitude, you will survive and come out stronger.