During a divorce, there are certain things you should and shouldn’t do. Making just a few seemingly simple mistakes can wind up costing you big time. Here are the 10 worst things you can do during a divorce:
1. Forgetting to be Cooperative
Just as it takes two to make a marriage successful, it takes two to make a divorce successful. Being uncooperative will only drag out the divorce proceedings and add undue stress to the situation. Be cooperative, and work with your ex to ensure that both of you get your fair shares.
2. Getting Your Kids Involved
Divorce can be stressful on children. Their everyday routine and what they consider “normal” is changing. Getting children involved in a divorce or forcing them to take sides will only cause them more pain, and lead to resentment in the future. Avoid speaking ill of your spouse in front of the kids, too – even if you’re angry.
3. Mistaking Your Attorney for a Therapist
The divorce attorney you hire will be there to represent you and fight for your best interests. Your attorney may be a great listener and a compassionate person, but keep in mind that spending time complaining about your ex to your lawyer will only cost you – literally. You’re on the clock when meeting with your attorney, so use that time wisely.
4. Not Being Proactive About Your Case
While it’s not advisable that you call your attorney every day to inquire about your case, it is important to stay proactive and keep on top of your case. All too often, divorces drag on for months, which only extends the emotional trauma and the cost of the divorce. A simple request for a weekly email update on the case will help ensure things are moving along.
5. Refusing Mediation
Even if the idea of sitting down with your ex to hash things out civilly doesn’t sound appealing to you, you would be doing yourself a disservice if you avoided mediation altogether. You may not be able to settle all of the issues without a judge, but resolving even just a few matters can save you money, time and emotional stress.
6. Speaking Ill of Your Ex
While you may be hurting and you may be angry, it’s important not to speak ill of your ex in front of the children. Remember, when you speak unkindly about your ex, you’re speaking unkindly about the child’s one and only mom or dad. You married your ex, but your children did not. The issues that plagued your relationship should not encumber your children’s relationship with your spouse.
7. Making Rash Decisions
Never make a decision in a divorce without fully understanding the ramifications of that decision. Research as much as you can, and consult with your attorney. The more information you have and the better your understanding of the situation, the better the outcome will be.
8. Settling for Less
Compromise is always a good thing in divorce, but you should never settle for less than you deserve or need. Be fair and honest about your needs and capabilities whether you’ll be on the giving or receiving end of alimony and/or child support.
9. Losing Control
Never allow your attorney to act on your behalf without them first fully informing you of the situation. It’s all too easy to simply allow your attorney to make decisions on your behalf, assuming they will act in your best interest. Stay in control of the situation, and do not allow decisions to be made without your consent.
10. Make False Accusations
Lying and making false accusations will not help your case, and will almost surely backfire at some point. Falsely accusing your spouse of drug, verbal or physical abuse will only complicate the situation, and cause the judge to revoke your visitation or custody privileges if the lie is discovered.