Mistakes You Should Avoid and Tips to Spare You Some Bad Decisions
Going through a divorce is a very difficult process that is filled with a full range of emotions. The part that makes divorce so difficult is that, on top of dealing with the feelings of sadness, loss, hurt, or anger, individuals also have to make important decisions about their future that could have huge, negative implications down the road. While no two divorces are the same, here are some of the most common mistakes individuals make and tips on how you can avoid making these mistakes yourself.
1. Acting Out of Anger During Divorce
Since anger is one of the most common emotions that individuals feel during a divorce, it is no surprise when people act out because of their angry emotions. One big problem with acting out in anger, is when divorcing spouses use the court system as a weapon to punish and hurt their soon to be ex-spouse. This makes the divorce process long and drawn out and fractures any chance of being able to work together one last time to settle and end the marriage.
Acting out of anger can also take the form of verbally abusing your spouse when you should be focusing on moving forward and not looking back on the mistakes that have made the relationship fall apart. Verbally abusing a spouse is known in most states as a form of “mental cruelty,” and in states that still allow for grounds for divorce, this can become a part of the public divorce record. When divorcing spouses call each other names or belittle each other, the chance that the party’s can have a rational conversation about the dividing of assets and preparing a parenting agreement go out the window. The moral of the story is to keep your emotions in check – you cannot let anger get the better of you during your divorce.
2. Making Decisions Without Understanding the Possible Outcomes
Because divorce is such an emotional and draining process, many people want to get it over with as quickly as possible. This often leads to them making quick decisions without thinking about all the possible outcomes. When faced with decisions like child custody and splitting of assets, making the wrong decision now can lead to challenges down the line. Making a rash decision can cost you precious visitation time with your children or cause you to miss out on assets that you may be due.
While you may worry that by not agreeing right away with your spouse, you risk the opportunity for an uncontested divorce, this may not necessarily be true. Explaining to your spouse that you want to make sure that the two of you make the right decisions while ending the marriage and that you need a little time to read through things and make a plan.
3. Settling / Being a Pushover
While it is important to compromise with your soon to be ex, it is also important to make sure your financial needs are being met during the divorce. If you will be the one receiving spousal or child support, make sure you do not underestimate how much support you will actually need to live comfortably. If you are going to be the one paying this support, make sure you do not agree to pay more than you can actually afford. Remember to never settle for support too low or payments too high.
The process of “Discovery” in a divorce case is one where both parties lay out, in written format, all of their personal and marital assets and debts. This includes bank accounts, pensions, 401(k)’s, credit card debts, real estate, and all other assets and debts. when both parties have an understanding of their net worth (or total debt) it becomes possible for them to make a decision without settling, because each spouse knows what is fair based on the disclosures that have taken place during discovery. This helps each spouse not be a pushover during settlement discussions regarding money.
4. Losing Control of Your Divorce Case
While having an attorney as a part of the divorce process is an asset, it is important to make sure that you are still making the decisions and are fully informed of all situations. Do not let your legal counsel make decisions on your behalf without being consulted and making sure you understand what the decision is and why it is being made. Always remember that your divorce lawyer works for you– this is your divorce and your life that you will need to deal with once the divorce is finalized, so you make the decisions.
Of course, there is a reason why you hire professional legal help during a divorce – because they are experts and deal with these issues every day! When your attorney advises you on something that you disagree with, listen to the reasoning behind why your attorney is suggesting it. It may be that what you want and what the law provides may not necessarily mesh. the important thing to remember is that it is your divorce and while you should voice your opinion, you also need to take into account what the experts that you have hired have to say as well.
5. Losing Yourself
Going through a divorce will have you feeling many different emotions and having to make some big life decisions. It is important to keep yourself together and be strategic about how you handle the process – keep a clear mind, do your research, ask for advice from professionals, and take the process one step at a time. Although the divorce may have you feeling low or badly about yourself, it is important to be confident that you can make good decisions and your life will go on.
A huge mistake that some people make is believing that they have to make huge life changes to make themselves happy once again. In some instances, change may be important, if your marriage has ended because of negative actions or addictions on your behalf. But more often than not, who you are is not the problem, it is who you were with. Two great people may just not get along. The important thing to keep in mind is that you should not let the hurt that you may feel from the divorce make you a different person.