Divorce is a complicated process, but it can become increasingly more difficult if you make critical divorce mistakes along the way. Many divorcing couples know what to do, but how many have thought about common divorce mistakes they should not do, decisions that could threaten the positive outcome of their divorce?
Top 5 divorce mistakes to avoid
1. Do not rush a settlement
Although it may be tempting to rush through the monetary settlement process, doing so could mean that you forfeit your future financial security. Even though the goal of many couples is to develop and agree on their own settlement amicably through an uncontested divorce, saving you time and money, this may not always be possible. Focusing too much on getting through a divorce quickly is one of the most common divorce mistakes.
Before agreeing to anything talk to a lawyer about your financial issues. Take time to gather all of your financial documents including your tax forms, pension information, retirement data, and savings and checking account information. Debts must also be identified. Other issues to consider are healthcare costs for you and your children and whether one of you has a long-term healthcare condition. All financial information (a balance sheet listing assets and debts, an accounting sheet of your income and expenses, and your tax return) should be consolidated and brought to the first meeting with your divorce attorney.
2. Delay dating someone new
Dating before the divorce is finalized is not illegal, but whether or not you should date is another question and another one of the most common divorce mistakes. In some cases the answer could really be about money. Let me explain. The cost of a divorce generally comes down to what issues are contested by the couple. Infidelity on the part of either spouse is likely to create hard fillings, anger, and regret. It also does not facilitate easy negotiations. Most divorce lawyers recommend that one of the best ways to save money in a divorce and increase your chances of amicably working with your spouse is to wait to date until after the divorce is finalized.
3. Accumulating extra debt
Another one of the most common divorce mistakes is accumulating debt during the divorce process. Divorce is costly and many divorce bills, such as attorney’s fees, must be paid before you receive a financial settlement from property or spousal support. For this reason it’s a good idea to avoid buying any large ticket items until after the divorce is finalized.
4. Refusing to get counseling
Maybe the divorce is the best thing that has ever happened to you; maybe you wished you had done it years ago. Regardless, getting counseling for you and your children can help evaluate the range of mixed emotions you might have. Children especially can benefit from talking with a neutral third party who can help them express some of their concerns about their new family arrangement.
5. Refusing to use Collaborative Divorce or Mediation
In recent years couples have become increasingly open to the idea of divorce mediation or collaboration. Whether it’s to save money or keep the separation amicable couples have decided that battling it out in court is not always the best option.
If you have not considered an alternative to a contested divorce now is the time. Collaborative divorce is generally more cooperative and less adversarial than traditional divorce. If a collaborative divorce is not for you but you do want professional help to negotiate several divorce issues, you may benefit from mediation. Limiting divorce negotiations alternatives is one of the most common divorce mistakes.
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