Divorce is a complex legal issue consisting of four core elements: division of marital assets, child custody, child support and alimony. Because of the complexity of divorce, and the fact that divorce touches on almost every facet of one’s life, making a mistake during the divorce process could be potentially costly in various ways. With that being said, it is important to identify and plan ways to avoid making one or more of these costly mistakes. Listed below are several common divorce mistakes along with some tips on how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Bad-mouthing your ex in front of the kids.
Regardless of how tempting it is, resist the urge to bad mouth your ex-spouse, especially in the presence of your children. Exhibiting such behavior can cause your children to begin viewing the other parent in a bad light, which may ultimately impact their relationship with that other parent. As any parenting coach of child therapist will tell you, it is imperative for children to have healthy relationships with both parents if at all possible, so don’t let your anger or bitterness impede your child’s relationship with your ex-spouse.
Mistake #2: Taking legal advice from just anyone.
Yes, hiring a divorce attorney may be costly, but divorce attorney exist for a reason. The role of an attorney is to provide legal guidance and advice during your divorce process, and this is the only source of information you should rely upon during your divorce. Although your friends and relatives may mean well when they offer divorce advice, you should remember that all advice is not created equal.
Mistake #3: Failing to plan for life after the divorce.
Should you keep or sell the martial home? Do you have life insurance independent of your ex-spouse? How will you support yourself post-divorce? These are all questions that are essential your financial wellbeing post-divorce. However, more often than not many going through the divorce process fail to address these questions until after the divorce is over. Yes, divorce is stressful and emotionally taxing, but failing to address these important financial issues could have potentially devastating consequences. Thus, it is important to work with a financial advisor to create a post-divorce financial plan to ensure you have an affordable and sustainable post-divorce budget in place.
Mistake #4: Keeping the kids out of the loop.
Should your children be made aware of every single detail of your divorce? Absolutely not. However, it is important that you discuss your divorce with your children in an age appropriate way. Failing to adequately discuss your divorce with your children may cause them to harbor unhealthy feelings and beliefs surrounding your divorce. For example, your children may feel that the divorce was the result of their behavior, or that they will no longer be able to have a relationship with both parents. If you are unsure how to appropriately address the issue of divorce with your children, seek the advice of a parenting coach or a therapist who specializes in family and child counseling.
Mistake #5: Failing to anticipate how long the divorce process will last.
The divorce process can last as little as 31 days, and as long as 3 years (possibly longer). Although divorce attorneys are skilled at assessing the divorce process, there is no way your attorney can accurately predict how long your divorce process will take, and neither can you. For this reason, it is a mistake to assume your divorce will be amicable and short lived, no matter how friendly the relationship between you and your estranged spouse is currently. Failing to plan accordingly can result in unexpected and unneeded stress and expense. With this in mind, it is important to have a candid discussion with your divorce attorney about your expectations early on in the divorce process.