COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID WHEN GOING THROUGH A DIVORCE.
Divorce is hard on everyone involved. Spouses, partners, children..even extended families face a jumble of emotions. Although this is common and is to be expected, all this can lead to mistakes that can have long-lasting effects, emotionally and financially.
Below are our top 10 common divorce mistakes as well as tips to avoid these pitfalls.
#1: FAILURE TO TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR DIVORCE
During your divorce, remember that this is your divorce. Do not allow your attorney, friends, or family members to take control. These well-meaning individuals will not have to live with the decisions made, you will. Take your time, select an attorney that you are comfortable with, and be honest with him/her and yourself.
#2: MAKING SIDE DEALS WITH YOUR SOON-TO-BE EX
Even if you and your spouse/partner continue to have an amicable relationship throughout your divorce, do not make the mistake of entering into side agreements with your soon-to-be-ex. It is imperative that everything is documented in your written settlement agreement so that your interests, and your children, will be protected. Life will change for you and your ex after the divorce and new relationships can create havoc with ‘but you promised’ if it isn’t in writing.
#3: NOT BEING HONEST WITH YOUR ATTORNEY
Your attorney can only work with the facts that you give him. If you fail to disclose everything regarding your case to your attorney or if you mislead her regarding the facts of your case, the person you wind up hurting is yourself. Be open and honest with your attorney, regardless of the issue.
#4: NOT BEING HONEST WITH YOURSELF ABOUT YOUR NEW FINANCIAL REALITY
Going from supporting one household to supporting two is more expensive than a lot of people realize. Write everything (veterinarian expenses, cable bills, uniforms for school teams……..everything!) down in your financial plan and be realistic on the ‘needs’ vs the ‘wants’. Remember, you don’t only split the assets you accumulated; if you and your spouse jointly accumulated debts during the marriage, ensure that your settlement agreement explicitly sets out who is responsible for paying back that debt. Make sure that your attorney has your name removed from any liabilities that you are not responsible for, such as mortgages or credit accounts. This will ensure that you are not held liable for debts that you are not responsible for.
#5: HIDING ASSETS
Individuals have a legal obligation to disclose all assets and liabilities during divorce proceedings. It is for the court to examine all assets and then determine whether they should be divided and how to do so. The intentional act of failing to disclose assets will be frowned upon by the court and can result in significant penalties. Even doing so accidentally can complicate the divorce process.
#6: HOLDING ON TO ASSETS THAT DON’T MAKE FINANCIAL SENSE
It is common for people to be sentimental and attached when it comes to the family home and other assets. But sometimes, holding on does not make financial sense. Larger properties require a greater amount of upkeep. Additionally, mortgage payments, taxes, repairs etc. can soon mount. Fighting to hold on to your home could do more damage than good in the long run.
#7: NOT CHANGING YOUR WILL OR ESTATE
In many states, ‘the occurrence of significant life events invalidates any previously executed wills’. It is important to revise your will or estate plan upon your divorce. This will ensure that your true wishes are carried out upon your death, especially if you decide to remarry.
#8: MAKING DECISIONS TO HURT YOUR SOON-TO-BE-EX
Divorce can be an intensely emotional process. In the heat of all these emotions, partners are often motivated to make decisions based on revenge or spite. Making rash decisions will often place you in a worse position. Remember the goal is to end. Trust your attorney; he or she is there to protect you.
#9: RUSHING TO ‘GET IT OVER IT’
On the opposite side, pushing a divorce through quickly and making an abrupt settlement can be a tempting prospect. Nobody relishes the thought of a drawn-out legal battle. However, making hasty decisions is typically not in your best interests.
#10: SELECTING THE 1ST ATTORNEY YOU SPEAK WITH: OR NOT HIRING AN ATTORNEY AT ALL
Although you may have friends or family members who have gone through the divorce process, they are not attorneys, and often the advice attorneys give may vary from case to case. And, do not take legal advice from anyone other than your attorney.
Take your time, interview a few attorneys, read their reviews, and check out how long have they been practicing family law. Did you speak to the attorney when you called for your free consultation or an intake person or the paralegal? Did they listen? It’s an important decision. Choose wisely.
And #11: Be really careful about sharing anything about your divorce on social media. Why? Read Getting Divorced? The 7 Golden Rules About Posting On Social Media