Outside of a family law office, divorce isn’t something most people have a lot of experience in—and that’s a good thing. However, because the average person doesn’t go through many divorces, mistakes are often made during the divorce process and the separation process. These mistakes can range from minor mistakes, like forgetting small details, to major mistakes, such as not reporting large assets. And, though the cost of these mistakes can vary, many of the common mistakes people make when divorcing are financially significant. Therefore, the following are ten mistakes people make during divorce:
Failure to Plan Financially:
Failure to financially plan for a divorce can have far-reaching consequences. For most people, their household income will decrease significantly but their day-to-day expenses will stay the same. Most divorces also impact retirement savings and plans. Therefore, it is crucial for people going through a divorce to plan a future budget around their new income. Also, highly contentious divorces can be financially draining due to extra legal fees. If you’re going through divorce, you’ll want to prioritize which issues are financially worth fighting about and which can be let go.
Trashing Your Ex:
Divorce can really bring out the worst in people and, sadly, many people find comfort in trashing their exes online or to friends and family. Though it can be cathartic to do so, talking about your divorce with family members, specifically your children, can bring serious complications to your divorce process. Even if you are totally in the right, resist the urge to talk about the details of your divorce on public platforms.
Acting Like Nobody’s Watching:
People often vastly underestimate technology’s ability to make them look like a fool in divorce court. The moment the divorce process starts, attorneys and paralegals may be going through your social media accounts, looking for anything incriminating. Though your social media accounts may be private, do not assume that “private” means nobody can see it. Act as if all texts, voicemails, and phone calls are being recorded and will be used in court. Because, in the age of smartphones, there’s always someone recording. Also, pretty much anything is allowed in divorce courts. This can include—but is not limited to—screenshots, voice recordings, social media posts, emails, voicemails, and so much more.
Not Seeking Help – i.e. therapy, divorce coach:
Going through a divorce without a therapist is a huge mistake that so many people make. Often, people don’t realize just how traumatic divorce and separation can be. A therapist can help you process the emotions you’re going through. Therapists can also help you find healthy ways to cope with the pain of divorce. A lot of people make big mistakes in their divorces due to the fact they’re having a difficult time processing the issues. Oftentimes, this causes people even more pain.
Intentionally Prolonging the Divorce:
It isn’t unheard of for a person to prolong the divorce out of spite. A person might do that by fighting over insignificant property, like cheap silverware or blankets. Or, a person may spitefully prolong the divorce by being unwilling to compromise on key issues. Sometimes, people might make outrageous demands in order to prolong the divorce. Although it may feel good to get back at your ex, spitefully prolonging the divorce is not a healthy way to find peace, nor smart financially.
Fighting for 50/50 When You Don’t Have Time:
Though everyone wants 50/50 custody, not everyone has time for 50/50 custody. There isn’t anything wrong with not having 50/50 custody; having 40/60 custody doesn’t change the fact that the child is still genetically 50% of you. If you’re used to being the fun dad who takes the kids out for ice cream on the weekends, you might want to consider if you’re ready to step up to the role of disciplinarian. Are you ready to help the kids with homework 50% of the time? Are you ready to get them ready for school, take them to doctor appointments, meet with their teachers, and more? These are just a few of the questions you will need to ask yourself. Alternatively, some parents make the mistake of settling for less custody because they don’t think they can win, or maybe they just want the divorce to be over. However, custody arrangements are often difficult to change after the divorce is already over. So make sure you’re asking for what you really want.
Abruptly Running off with the Kids:
Barring abusive and dangerous situations, you should never abruptly run off with your children. Not only is this unfair and damaging to your children, it’s also damaging to your case in a custody battle. Courts do not look kindly upon parents who move out with their children without warning. If you do this, and you end up in a custody battle, this will absolutely be used against you. Courts have an obligation to act in the best interest of the children when deciding on custody battles. If you engage in behavior that is emotionally damaging to your child, it will be difficult to argue that full custody is in your child’s best interest.
Not Following Court Orders:
Court orders are just that, orders. If you are ordered to pay alimony, make sure you pay your alimony, and make sure you pay it on time—the same goes for child support. If you are seeking to have your alimony payments decreased, or if you are looking for full custody, judges are more likely to rule in your favor when you follow court orders. Remember, they’re court orders; they aren’t court suggestions.
Doing Shady Stuff:
If you’re hiding your assets, alienating your children, or taking measures to evade child support, it will come out in court. The aforementioned behaviors are illegal and they will definitely not go unpunished. Attorneys and paralegals are trained to find assets and evidence of parental alienation. There are already laws in place to guarantee child support is paid in full and on time. Do not make these mistakes.
Not Consulting an Attorney:
Perhaps you really do have one of those divorces that are so simple and amicable that you can just go through an online do-it-yourself divorce. However, this is not the case for most couples. A lawyer will be able to tell you what your best options are. Not everyone needs to go to court over their divorce. Some couples may be able to go through mediation and, in rare cases, some don’t even need that. In order to have the best information, you will need to at least consult an attorney.
If you are currently going through a divorce, you likely know just how painful the process can truly be. If you’re finding yourself overwhelmed and confused, you are not alone. You may have questions and concerns about your options and your future. CoilLaw can provide you with answers. Call us today to find out how we can help you.