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.
1. 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.
2. 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 for 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.
3. 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.
4. 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 strategy based on your unique situation. Acting outside of that strategy could harm your position in the divorce.
5. 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 Alabama Law Group.