Every divorce is unique because no marriage is exactly like another. However, even though every divorce is unique, the mistakes that people make during a divorce are often similar. Here is a list of common mistakes that can cost you when you are getting divorced.
Mistake 1: Deciding On A Divorce Too Soon
Many people give up on their marriages too soon. They get angry with their spouses and rush to file for divorce before properly considering the financial and emotional costs involved. You should never file for divorce when you are angry. Take some time to cool down and consider whether your marriage truly is broken beyond repair. You might be better off seeking the services of a marriage counselor before deciding on a divorce. If you file for divorce when your marriage is salvageable, you will regret it later.
Mistake 2: Being Too Attached To The Marital Home
People tend to think they will be better off after the divorce if they get the family home. The problem is that the home is often the most valuable and most expensive asset that a couple has. If you insist on the getting the home, you might cost yourself other marital assets and you will in most cases also be responsible for paying the mortgage, property taxes and any maintenance costs on the home. You might be better off financially after the divorce if you let your spouse have the home or if you and your spouse sell the house and split the proceeds as part of the divorce.
Mistake 3: Not Telling Your Attorney Everything
People are very quick to tell their attorneys about everything that their spouses have done wrong and everything that they think can be used against their spouses in the divorce. However, they are often reluctant to say anything that they have done wrong. Your attorney cannot tell anyone your secrets and you need to tell your attorney what they are. Never assume that your spouse does not know something or will not tell his or her attorney. You do not want your attorney to hear anything for the first time in court. It will be too late for your attorney to do anything to help you get past the issue.
Mistake 4: Getting The Children Involved
Whatever you do during the divorce, resist the urge to say anything bad about your spouse within hearing range of your children. As far as the children are concerned, your spouse should always be considered the greatest mother or father in the world. Badmouthing your spouse can cost you dearly in a custody battle.
Mistake 5: Fighting Over Things That Do Not Matter
Sometimes people get so obsessed with winning every battle during a divorce that they lose sight of what they are fighting over. They end up fighting over every small personal item, including the proverbial pots and pans. You are often far better off emotionally and financially letting your spouse have small items than paying an attorney to fight over them.
Mistake 6: Cutting Off A Spouse’s Financial Accounts
A lot of bad advice floats around about what to do during a divorce. One of the worst pieces of common advice is that as soon as you decide to get a divorce, you should close any joint bank and credit card accounts. People will tell you horror stories about the possibility of your spouse draining the accounts if you do not close them. However, if you close the accounts, you have just done the very thing you were trying to guard against your spouse doing. If your spouse relies on those accounts, a judge will not be pleased with you. Before closing any accounts, you need to seek the advice of an attorney. Your attorney can request temporary orders from the court about what to do with the accounts while the divorce is pending.
Mistake 7: Not Trying To Negotiate And Settle
Some people are determined that they will not settle with their spouses for any reason. They are convinced that they are right and a judge will see everything their way. At trial, it is extremely rare for a judge to side completely with one party. Each spouse normally gets some, but not all, of what they were asking for. Most people are much happier with an agreement that they have made with their spouses than what a judge would decide.
Mistake 8: Listening To Friends And Family
Everyone knows someone who has been through a divorce. When you are going through your own divorce, those people will try to give you advice about what to do and what they think you should get out of the divorce. Unfortunately, the most painful words that a divorce attorney ever hears from a client might be “A friend told me.” The attorney knows that the ensuing conversation will be long and difficult. I started this article by telling you that every divorce is unique. Your friend’s advice is well-intentioned, but your attorney is a far more reliable source of information about what to expect in your unique divorce.
Mistake 9: Getting Involved With Someone Else
Nothing brings out the bitterness and anger in a divorce faster than when one of the parties starts dating someone else. The other spouse might have been willing to negotiate before, but now out of anger he or she will want to fight over everything. It can make a divorce far more time-consuming and costly. It is best to wait to start dating until after the divorce is over, but if you do start seeing someone else make sure not to rub your spouse’s face in it. Do not bring the other person around when your spouse will be present and do not talk about the other person with your spouse.
Mistake 10: Settling Quickly Just To Get The Divorce Over
Divorces can be long and emotionally draining. Many people agree to whatever their spouses want just to get the process over with faster. It often leaves them with less of the marital property than they should have received. Once the divorce is final, it is almost always too late to go back and make changes to any property settlement. Do not settle your divorce until you have all the information that your attorney needs to advise you about the fairness of the settlement and whether it is in your best interests.