Divorce is a life-changing decision that is never easy. While the process of ending a marriage involves many legal, financial, and emotional challenges, there are many mistakes that affect the outcome of your case — and you should know how to avoid them. From not consulting an attorney to having unrealistic expectations regarding your settlement, here are some of the most common divorce mistakes that people frequently make in their cases:
Divorce is not about who wins and who loses — it is often about reasonable compromise. The process requires cooperation in order to reach a settlement that works for both parties. Protecting your rights must always be balanced against opportunities to settle and resolve your case so that you can move on with your case.
Refusing to negotiate is one of the most common divorce mistakes. Not only can this drag out the process, but it can also lead to costly litigation. No matter how contentious your divorce is, negotiation can help ensure you and your spouse reach a resolution without the need for a judge deciding the issues in your case. If you and your spouse are willing to communicate and work together, you may be able to reach a settlement outside of court.
Divorce often involves many personal details about what happened in your marriage. You will need to disclose relevant details to your attorney to help ensure they have the information they need to create an effective strategy in your case. Failing to disclose the pertinent facts concerning your divorce to your attorney can lead to a number of problems. If your attorney doesn’t have all the relevant information, they may not be able to provide you with the correct advice — or know what complications to be aware of when negotiating a settlement with opposing counsel on your behalf.
Some of the most common divorce mistakes arise when it comes to child custody matters. Divorce can have a significant impact on your children — and is critical to put their best interests first and foremost at all times. While child custody is often a source of contention between divorcing spouses, it doesn’t have to be. Mediation and the collaborative process can help you find ways to put aside your differences, focus on healthy co-parenting, and create a parenting plan that will meet your children’s needs.
Avoid posting anything about your spouse or your divorce on social media while your case is ongoing. Anything you post during the divorce process can be used against you, such as photos of lavish vacations, gambling, significant purchases, or partying with your friends. Your spouse’s attorney may take these posts as evidence to argue that you don’t need the spousal support payments as much as you say you do — or if you are facing a custody dispute, they might attempt to assert that you’re an unfit parent.
Not every divorce case needs to be litigated in the courtroom. By using a form of alternative dispute resolution, such as mediation, negotiation, or the collaborative process, spouses can resolve their issues more amicably and with less expense than they would incur by pursuing time-consuming litigation. Instead of relying on a judge to determine the outcome, these methods allow spouses to reach a creative resolution when it comes to things like determining property division, child custody, alimony, and child support.
A common divorce mistake to avoid is hiding marital assets. Full financial disclosures are required during the divorce process. Attempting to conceal assets is illegal and can lead to severe penalties, such as the award of the asset in full to the other party, or setting aside the terms of your entire agreement in full or in part. It can constitute perjury or result in significant monetary sanctions against the party responsible for failing to disclose the asset.
One of the biggest divorce mistakes is trying to act as your own attorney. Even if your divorce is uncontested and relatively straightforward, an attorney has significant training in the law. An attorney can advise you regarding your rights and ensure you understand all the options that may be available to you. Failing to consult with an attorney may cause you to agree to a deal you later regret, and undoing that agreement may be impossible or at minimum, an expensive process. By having the representation of an attorney from the beginning of your case, you can avoid making costly mistakes that could have otherwise been avoided.
If you are thinking about ending your marriage, a skillful family law attorney can represent your interests and help you avoid the most common divorce mistakes. Located in Walnut Creek, Bednarczyk & Valerio, LLP provides knowledgeable counsel for divorce and a wide variety of family law issues. Call 925-464-2494 or contact us online to schedule a consultation to learn how we can help.