Going through a divorce or separation is stressful for a myriad of reasons. No one is exactly at their best when they are going through it. All too often one’s judgment is clouded by their emotions, prompting quick reactions. Common, costly mistakes can be made throughout the process, which can only fuel the stress fire.
If you’re contemplating divorce, or are in the middle of negotiations, the checklist below may serve as a helpful guide on how to avoid common divorce mistakes.
Unrealistic expectations of how to live your life going forward
Dividing up the property and deciding on who should keep the home (or if it should be sold) have a substantial emotional impact and often significant financial implications for both parties. It’s a standard line of thinking that no one’s lifestyle is going to change after a divorce. Perhaps you think you are going to take that annual trip to the beach with the kids during the summer or purchase a car for your 16-year-old. Not to mention, parents will sometimes compete with each other through spending, and it may cause your spending budget to deflate. Sadly, this cycle can be endless.
However, if you’re tempted to engage in outdoing your ex-spouse, it’s important to ask yourself: How does this decision benefit my family and how could it be perceived by my children down the line? You also have to think about how it could affect your other financial goals.
Asking someone close the name of the lawyer they used
Everyone’s situation is unique. Everyone doesn’t live his or her life (or have relationships) like their neighbors, friends, or relatives. So, what worked for them may not necessarily work for you. Additionally, not every attorney is the same. Some are go-getters, hand-holders, litigators, mediators, collaborators or have expertise in specific areas (such as custody disputes or pre- and post-nuptial agreements).
How should you handle the situation?
Research! Research! Research!
You may be going through all the emotions on the spectrum, but this is your life we’re talking about. Don’t be quick to pick the most crucial professional you’ll ever have by your side based solely on a recommendation from someone. Look into several names, or ask that person who recommended someone why they valued that attorney. Come up with questions based on your circumstances. Take advantage of your free consultation calls to find out more about attorneys and how they operate.
Inviting your children in on the process
You would think this would be a no-brainer; however, parents can sometimes feel the impulse to try to make their children take their side and not the side of their soon-to-be-ex spouse. This can happen daily. Telling your children too much can stress them out. The court could recognize this as you trying to create parental alienation. It could lead to certain penalties in your case and could even reward your spouse. It’s imperative to you, your case, and most importantly, your children that you maintain your children’s happiness and don’t invite your kids in on the process too much. This includes having your children deliver messages and money to your spouse.
Removing your spouse from your health insurance plan
As mentioned, emotions are high during a divorce, and you may want to settle quickly. It’s a heavy load to bear, and the desire to be done can lead to rash decisions. One such decision could be to take your spouse off of your health insurance plan as soon as you file for divorce.
To sever all ties is not supernatural to consider. That said, an action such as this, especially if your spouse has a serious medical condition that requires him or her to make frequent medical visits, could be an expensive mistake. If you were to carry this out, you might be accountable to pay your spouse’s uncovered medical bills. You could pay the price for a long time.
The same goes for removing large sums of money from joint checking or savings accounts. Talk to your spouse, and talk to your attorney.
Refusing to compromise
You’re probably noticing a common theme surrounding the importance of not letting your emotions take the steering wheel. The pain you may be dealing with can knock the wind out of you and cause you to put your gloves on for battle. Some couples go through a divorce and shift the mentality of “my way or the highway” into high gear, which can result in further conflict and more frustration.
To reach an agreement, both parties need to be comfortable and willing to compromise. You are likely not going to get everything you want. You are going to have to give in on some things. The more you fight about the things you want, the longer and more expensive the process will be.
There are many divorce mistakes, but if you want to avoid making critical errors, it’s important to educate yourself and work with people you trust. With the right knowledge and headspace (and the proper professional guidance), you should be well on your way to avert any painful divorce mishaps. Contact us today if you need guidance for your divorce; we are more than happy to help during this trying time.