Divorce catches us at our most vulnerable – emotionally, financially, psychologically. When we are vulnerable, we tend to feel more and think less, and that can lead to some potentially catastrophic mistakes with the issues divorce involves. So, we thought we would offer some of the most common pitfalls to avoid during divorce.
First, do not fly solo. Some people think they can handle divorce themselves, even including representing themselves. But just as you would not operate on yourself, you should not ignore the reality that divorce takes place in a highly technical legal world with procedures and laws that take years to master. You want to make sure you find the right person to guide you through this process. In choosing your attorney, you want to make sure that person has the right experience in the field of family law and the right temperament or personality for you so that you feel comfortable and heard throughout the process.
Second, beware free advice. Many people have gone through a divorce so you have many people walking around with stories to tell, and some of these storytellers feel their experience alone turned them into legal wizards. Websites abound with free advice on how to best handle your divorce. The more you listen to these other voices, the more you will just hear a ringing in your head rather than clarity. You trusted your attorney enough to retain that person; follow that person’s instructions as the most qualified giver of advice and the one most familiar with the facts of your case.
Third, be real. Vulnerability can give way to rage as a counterweight – do not give in to that rage of angry emotions. You suddenly feel like you can and will claim all of the marital property and you will make your spouse support you for years to come, all while depriving that person of time with the children. The law does not work that way – and the longer you live in that angry space the more unhappy and irrational you can become.
Fourth, do not lie to your attorney. Divorce can bring up tender areas that cause some embarrassment, and while that is understandable, hiding that information from the person you retained to help you is a disaster waiting to happen. Do not let your attorney get blindsided later – be upfront and forthright from the get go.
Fifth, form a trust circle. You have your attorney for your legal guidance, but you also need a support group of reliable family and friends to help you deal with the raw emotions of leaving a marriage and starting a new chapter of your life. Having others to help makes the journey much easier and healthier.
If you follow these five key rules, you will avoid the most devastating errors people make during divorce.
If you have questions about divorce, contact us – we can help.