What Mistakes Should I Avoid in My Divorce?
In this country, around half of all marriages end in divorce. No one wants to believe their marriage may fail, but it is important to be prepared if it does. Missteps during divorce can add time, money, and stress to the process. These missteps can be legal or financial. Others have more to do with the emotions that come with divorce. Here are the top mistakes to avoid if you are getting divorced.
Avoid Working Without an Attorney
Some couples try to resolve their divorce without attorneys, especially if their relationship is amicable, but that is not recommended. You might be surprised how an otherwise agreeable spouse changes their attitude after you ask for a divorce. They may not be as cooperative as you anticipated once negotiation begins.
A divorce attorney is an objective third-party professional who has experience navigating the complex legal and financial matters that come with divorce. Their job is to protect your rights and represent your interests every step of the way.
Some splits are more complex than others. They require the expertise of forensic accountants, child therapists, mediators, and other professionals. An experienced attorney has access to these resources as well. When you hire an attorney to represent you, you have peace of mind knowing someone is advocating for you and your rights and interests.
Avoid Financial Confusion
It is never too early to get your finances in order, even if you are just beginning to consider divorce. Start gathering all of the necessary paperwork so you are ready for the first meeting with your attorney.
Make copies of documentation for bank accounts, credit cards, real estate, retirement funds, and other assets. If you are not sure if something is relevant or not, just ask your divorce attorney. If you take the time to prepare and get your financials ready now, you can avoid prolonging the process later.
Avoid Hiding Information
Full and complete transparency is essential during divorce. It is imperative to be open and honest with your attorney about income, assets, and liabilities along with any issues that transpired during the marriage.
It is impossible for your attorney to provide effective representation without having a good grasp on the history and the dynamics of the marriage. Also, if your spouse or their attorney finds you have been untruthful by hiding assets or income, it could work against you at settlement time.
Avoid Keeping an Outdated Estate Plan
When you end a marriage, you need to update your estate plan accordingly. Be sure to change the beneficiary on any wills, IRAs, life insurance policies, and other documents. If you overlook this key step, the estate you envision leaving to your children will end up going to your ex instead. Consult with your attorney to determine how and when to update specific estate-planning documents.
Avoid Overlooking Tax Implications
Whether you are at the stage of dividing marital assets or negotiating child and spousal support, be sure to consider the tax consequences of certain decisions. Tax implications are particularly important when pension or retirement plans are divided.
If you overlook taxes, you may end up with alimony or property that is significantly undervalued. In a high-asset divorce it is common for the divorce attorney to partner with a financial expert to ensure their client’s fiscal interests are protected. Choose an attorney with access to these resources.
Avoid Acting Out of Anger, Guilt, or Revenge
There are reasons why your marriage did not work out. There could have been infidelity or conflict over finances. Maybe you both just grew apart. While it can be difficult to put negative feelings aside, it should be done.
Try to act rationally and not from a place of resentment or bitterness. Acting from emotions can impact you negatively now and in the future. High-conflict divorces take longer to resolve and cause undue stress to everyone involved. Trust your attorney to provide sound legal guidance based solely on the facts and divorce laws in your state.
Avoid Dating Too Quickly
If you have been unhappy for a long time, you are probably eager to get back out into the dating pool and try your hand at love again. But most attorneys caution their clients to refrain from dating too quickly. If you get involved too soon, your spouse may use your new relationship against you and stop cooperating during mediation. If you have kids, introducing a new romantic partner right away can be confusing and even traumatic for them. It is best to wait until your divorce is final before you start dating someone new.
Avoid Using the Children as Pawns
While we are on the topic of children, here is your reminder to refrain from putting the kids in the middle of your divorce. Obviously, you need to tell them the divorce is happening. Explain in age-appropriate ways how things are going to change and what they can expect moving forward.
Do your best to shield children from conflict as much as possible and avoid criticizing your ex to your kids. Never make your child feel guilty for loving the other parent or wanting to see and spend time with them. Unless your ex poses a physical or emotional risk to your kids, it is important to support and facilitate a healthy relationship with both parents.
Avoid Being Inflexible
Stalling or refusing to cooperate with your spouse will only drag out the divorce process. It is virtually impossible for both spouses to get everything they want in the divorce settlement. Concessions must be made at some point. If you want to end this chapter of your life and move on to the next, you must be willing to negotiate a bit.
Of course, the big issues like child custody are non-negotiable. But if you are bickering about visitation for a single holiday, for example, flexibility will go a long way toward a civil split. If both parties are open to compromise, you can reach a resolution without going to court.
When you settle out of court, you do not have the stress of letting a judge decide your fate. You have more control over the outcome of your divorce—and your future. Now that you are familiar with the common mistakes couples make when they divorce, you are more informed and prepared for the road ahead.
Marlton Divorce Attorneys at Goldstein & Mignogna, P.A. Resolve Complex Legal Matters To Help You Move Forward After Divorce
Our experienced Marlton divorce attorneys at Goldstein & Mignogna are here to ensure you do not make these common mistakes. Trust our experienced legal team to protect your interests and resolve your divorce as peacefully and effectively as possible. Call 856-600-6901 or contact the firm online to schedule an appointment today. Located in Marlton, we work with clients in Burlington County, Camden County, Gloucester County and across South Jersey and statewide.