8 Mistakes People Make in Divorce

8 Mistakes People Make in Divorce

  1. Using a lawyer as a therapist. An attorney is first and foremost in the business of law. His primary job is to know the law and to protect your legal interests. You should use your lawyer to champion your legal interests and use a real therapist for your emotional needs. An attorney makes hundreds of dollars an hour. Use a professional therapist if you need emotional support. Most reputable lawyers do not want to take your money for therapy and would rather refer you you to someone who is qualified in that field.
  2. Using the children as a counselor or weapon. Children are emotionally immature and are not equipped to take the place of your spouse as a confidant. They will have their own difficult journeys to travel during your divorce. Do not use them to get back at your spouse. It is not the child’s fault. Remember that you spouse is her parent as well. Make sure that you put aside extra time for the children during this difficult period.
  3. Using a lawyer to "get back" at a spouse. Lawyers are expensive. Using them to attack a spouse only means less money for you to survive on after the divorce.
  4. Not documenting everything before the divorce is filed. If you are contemplating a divorce or have been served with a complaint, you should immediately document as much as you can. Get copies of all bank statements, life insurance policies, credit card bills, deeds, and financial documents. You might consider video taping the contents of your home to have a record in case items "go missing" later. In court everything that is disputed must be proved by evidence.
  5. Being dishonest with the court or your attorney. It is important that you are honest with your attorney; if she is caught unprepared in court she will not be able to effectively represent your interests. Lying to the court is both stupid and illegal. The courts have little sympathy for litigants that do not tell the truth.
  6. Negotiating a settlement without full knowledge of all the assets and debts. It is crucial that you have this information so that you can evaluate whether a settlement is fair. The best way to do this is to be armed with a complete inventory of the marital assets and debt. Only then should you do the math and see if the settlement is equitable.
  7. Failing to plan for their child’s future. It is important to resolve issues such as college tuition and extracurricular activities. One area that is often overlooked is insuring the child’s financial rights. If you receive child support from your spouse, you should consider what would happen if that spouse were to suddenly pass away. Insurance can be negotiated into the divorce agreement to insure that there will be money to take care of the child in the event of a sudden death.
  8. Not seeking legal advice. I am not saying that you have to hire a lawyer; it is an individual choice. However, many lawyers offer free initial consultations or a reduced rate for the first meeting. A divorce lawyer handles many divorces and is usually in a better position to advise you on the complexity of your divorce. Also, a lawyer is not emotionally involved in your situation and can look at the dispute with fresh eyes.
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