These five common mistakes could prevent a good outcome from your divorce.
The divorce process is an inevitably stressful, emotional, and difficult experience that can cause people to do things and behave in ways that are out of character. Seemingly small white lies can have a huge impact if they are discovered, and chances are, they will be. These five things might seem obvious, but in the heat of a trying moment, you need to be resolute in your determination to not do them.
Avoid This 5 Mistakes During Your Divorce
Don’t Hide Money
When it comes to dividing the marital assets, it’s important to give full disclosure to your attorney about your finances. Attempting to hide money, stocks, other investments, retirement funds, etc. will not be looked on kindly by a judge. Don’t “forget to mention” any accounts, income or aspect of your finances to try to swing things in your favor.
“Most states follow equitable distribution laws. In these states, property acquired during the marriage belongs to the spouse who earned it. In case of divorce, the property will be divided between the spouses in a fair and equitable manner. There is no set rule in determining who receives what or how much.
The court considers a variety of factors. For example, the court may look at the relative earning contributions of the spouses, the value of one spouse staying at home or raising the children, and the earning potential of each. A spouse can receive between one-third and two-thirds of the marital property,” explains LegalZoom. States that have common property laws include Alaska (by agreement), Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
Don’t Make Threats
“If you’re planning on starting your divorce proceedings by adopting a threatening posture, there’s a good chance that you will simply complicate your divorce, increasing the amount of time and money you spend on your separation. A piece of advice that isn’t followed as frequently as suggested is keeping the kids out of the divorce. One of the worst threats you can make involves restricting the ability of your partner to be involved in raising the children. It’s a guaranteed way of permanently increasing the hostility of the divorce…” says Divorce Magazine.
“Don’t make threats” is not just referring to physical harm, but includes financial and emotional manipulation, as well. Whether your intention is to follow through on a threat or not, there can be very serious negative consequences for threatening words and behavior. You could have a restraining order placed against you, receive an unfavorable child custody arrangement, or undermine your financial outcome, not to mention create a hostile divorce process that could take additional time and money.
Don’t Try To Do It Alone
“Sharing your feelings with friends and family can help you get through this period. Consider joining a support group where you can talk to others in similar situations. Isolating yourself can raise your stress levels, reduce your concentration, and get in the way of your work, relationships, and overall health,” according to Mental Health America.
Carrying the full weight and burden of everything you’re feeling and experiencing during your divorce by yourself is not healthy. Friends and family can be great resources to lean on, but you want to find people who don’t feed negativity and can help you focus on the positive. Encouragement is vital to emotional well-being during a divorce. If you find that friends and family are not able to support you in a healthy, healing way, find a counselor to talk to.
Don’t Lie To Your Attorney Or Ignore Their Advice
“From concealing bad habits to lying about relationships and even trying to cover up financial information, people will very often try and keep information from their lawyer. Even white lies can be damaging because it’s keeping your attorney from getting the best picture of you and your marriage that he or she can,” according to Fatherly.com.
Hopefully, you have chosen an attorney that you trust and who is a good fit for you. Your divorce attorney is there to serve your best interest, be on your side, and fight for you. Lying to them, hiding or omitting information, or disregarding their advice can sabotage your case. Your attorney knows the law and will implement a strategy based on your unique situation. Acting outside of that strategy could harm your position in the divorce.
Don’t Hire The Wrong Attorney
The best way to not sabotage your divorce is to hire a knowledgeable, experienced family law attorney. In Alabama, that attorney is Charlotte Christian of The Charlotte Christian Law.
Hire a Divorce Attorney
Hiring the wrong attorney is bad. Divorcing without an attorney is worse. Divorce is a complex matter with dire consequences. If you don’t understand divorce law to the letter, going alone will compromise the outcome. While attorneys appear to be unnecessary costs, the consequences of losing custody or getting an unfair settlement outweigh legal costs by a significant margin.
A lawyer also reduces unnecessary stress associated with handling the legal aspects of separation while dealing with psychological stress. A seasoned attorney can also guarantee favorable outcomes. Divorce attorneys can negotiate settlements and represent you accordingly if the case goes to trial. Unless you are a divorce attorney yourself, never represent yourself.
Taking a Long-Term Approach
A divorce that involves children should be tackled with care. Child custody matters arise from the onset because parents aren’t willing to have a long-term approach. Child matters are long-term. A poor approach will create a need for numerous modifications in the future, which can be expensive and unsettling to the children involved.
Whatever you choose or agree to in divorce and related matters should be viewed with a long-term approach. Never accept a settlement offer without considering the long-term consequences. Subsequently, custody arrangements should be well thought out.
Pay Attention to Divorce Logistics
If you divorce and have children, you must think of custody matters in detail. Establishing visitation and possession are critical matters to focus on. Co-parents are expected to come up with a visitation schedule that suits them well. The schedule should also suit the child and the other parent’s schedule.
If you don’t seek professional help, you may miss important details that can make a visitation schedule hectic to meet. Something simple like dropping off/picking up your children should be thought of in detail. The same applies to visitation timelines throughout the year and ensuring these timelines are ideal for your work and children’s schedules.
Other tiny details must be considered, i.e., preparing the kids for visitation or other activities if you are a primary conservator, failing to have a child ready during visitation can be treated as a violation of court orders resulting in other problems such as renewed custody battles. Having an elaborate plan is the only way to avoid logistical problems. Most importantly, you need legal expertise to craft a perfect plan that factors all logistics imaginable.
Choose Winnable Battles
While you aren’t supposed to be “walked over” by your spouse, you should choose battles wisely. It’s understandable to have certain expectations about child custody, visitation, settlement, etc.. However, don’t stress over what you can’t control 100%. For instance, fighting viciously for full custody when you have a past domestic violence conviction isn’t wise. The same applies to fighting for visitation rights you can’t honor. There’s no point in custody you can’t handle.
Consult a divorce attorney if you don’t understand what is reasonable or otherwise in a child custody case. Divorce is already expensive as it is. Assuming you have the money to fight and win for custody but don’t have the time to attend to your child, such a battle is unwinnable. Pursuing unwinnable battles won’t mean much if you lose money unnecessarily and hurt your children in the process. Experienced divorce attorneys are the best-placed professionals to advise what is worth or isn’t worth pursuing.
Have Realistic Timelines & Consider Negotiating
Divorce processes take time. The exact timelines can’t be estimated with certainty if you aren’t an expert. Assuming you will be done after a specific time without consulting your divorce attorney will just lead to disappointment. Divorce cases are different. You should plan for delays accordingly, considering they dictate the final cost of legal services.
Take advantage of FREE initial consultations to ask a seasoned divorce attorney for an estimated timeline to help you plan better. There are other ways to avoid delays. For instance, out-of-court settlements are always better since they avoid lengthy and expensive trial processes that can take years.
Don’t Focus On Revenge
Approaching divorce and related matters like child custody and visitation with bitterness can sabotage the entire process. When there are children involved, you must purpose to be as civil as possible. “Punishing” the other parent is likely to hurt your kids. For instance, it’s a fact that kids need both parents. Unless the other parent is abusive, an addict or absent, they have equal rights to see their kids.
While it is tempting to “settle a score” with an ex by targeting what matters most to them, this strategy never works in the long term. In fact, children can end up resenting a parent who made it difficult for the other to spend time with them. The best approach is to handle everything with the best interests of your children at heart. Children are bound to suffer when emotions and ego are the controlling factors in custody and related divorce battles. Vengeful behavior also tends to work against someone in court. You are bound to lose credibility and suffer negative consequences like sanctions and rejection of important motions.
Maintain A Neutral To Positive Approach When Talking About The Other Parent
When co-parenting, talking badly about an ex does more harm than good. Besides creating loyalty conflict, children become ill-equipped to deal with many issues resulting in psychological problems in the long term.
While most parents do it to make the other one look bad, children can become confused and damaged. What’s more, divorce court judges are upset by such occurrences. If proof is obtained and presented in court that one parent has disparaged the other to/in front of a child, the guilty party is likely to be punished. Such conduct results in sanctions, findings of contempt, orders for supervision, modification to custody, and other negative consequences.
If you implement the above, your divorce process is likely to have a favorable outcome. Most importantly, you need a divorce attorney guiding you every step of the way. Seasoned divorce attorneys know exactly what you should avoid when divorcing.
For more help choosing a family law attorney, check out this blog. To get the best possible outcome from your divorce, contact The Charlotte Christian Law today and schedule a consultation.