You would be forgiven for wanting to rush through a divorce. No matter how amicable they might be initially, no divorce is a pleasant experience, and there will always be emotions at play. But botching the divorce process can have lasting consequences and lead to some serious financial and emotional remorse down the line. You need to take your time to think through each step of the process – and prepare accordingly – lest you find yourself falling victim to one of the many common pitfalls in today’s divorce court. We will discuss a few of the most common divorce mistakes to avoid.
Working on a Big Move
In some cases, people don’t want to be in the same state as their ex, let alone the same city or neighborhood. But a big move isn’t always the best idea. In fact, in most cases, it’s much better to hold off on any big moving plans until after a judge has had their final say on all matters, with one distinct exception: domestic violence. If you are a victim of domestic violence, be careful about your internet search history and use the hotline to get more info or call immediately through 800-799-7233 (SAFE).
We want to say that domestic violence is not an issue in most divorce cases – but that does not make it less of a problem. An estimated 20 people are abused by an intimate partner every second. This is for the United States alone. Severe physical violence at the hands of an intimate partner occurs for one in four women and one in nine men. If you want to learn more about domestic violence or need help, seek the attention of a legal professional immediately. There are tools at your disposal to get the protection you need for yourself and your children.
In cases where domestic violence is not a factor, a big move can complicate things greatly by forcing the divorce to occur in multiple jurisdictions, greatly impact your ability to make certain court dates and adhere to your legal obligations throughout the process, and, if you have children, it may signal an intention to move away from the environment your kids have grown accustomed to, where they have friends and family.
Introducing the Kids to the New Partner Too Quickly
Another red flag for custody cases (a big part of the divorce process for many couples) is the early introduction of the new partner. “Getting over” your ex too soon into the divorce process can also become a recipe for disaster in cases where children aren’t in the picture, simply because the risk of a rebound is too high – and that sort of emotional turmoil can very quickly turn a straightforward, albeit painful divorce, into an expensive and excruciating process.
Wherever kids are involved, eagerness to move in with a new partner or immediately introduce the kids to a potential stepparent may signal that you aren’t properly addressing your children’s emotional needs at this time. Kids take some time to cope with divorce, and regardless of whatever is going on between you and your ex, it does not automatically mean that your ex-partner is a horrible parent or that your kids need to see you “replace” them, so soon.
Overlooking Your Faults in the Relationship
While not necessarily based on legal wisdom on the surface, taking a page from a self-help book and reflecting on your divorce mistakes throughout the relationship can positively impact the divorce process. It can help keep you from making ridiculous demands or becoming uncompromising as negotiations and mediation wane on and help you maintain a reasonable mindset throughout the whole thing.
Finally, divorce proceedings can be expensive. The last thing you want is to eventually end up in another marriage and go through the whole thing again – learning more about your own faults and problems can help you avoid relationships that might be doomed to fail and help you avoid repeating relationship mistakes you’ve made in the past—a win for both futures you and a future partner.
Making Decisions Without Professional Help
This isn’t to say that you cannot, or should not, be your own person. But there are certain decisions and key moments in any divorce where you really shouldn’t decide anything without thorough legal counsel, especially after a provocation or concerning a very emotional matter, such as custody. Above all else, cool heads must prevail. In many cases, neither party in a divorce is known for constantly keeping a cool head.
Attempting a One-Sided Divorce
The courts want divorce proceedings to go smoothly and without much of a fight. It saves everyone a lot of pain, grief, and time. But there are cases where one person becomes unreasonable, and things escalate as both parties begin to swing themselves into a rage. Even when met with unreasonable demands, the last thing you should do is return them. As has been repeated time and time on playgrounds, in classrooms, and offices throughout the world: don’t stoop to their level. Not only will you be burning both their and your own money, but it often only makes things worse.
Taking Legal Advice From Others
You shouldn’t take legal advice from anyone who is not your attorney. This includes the Internet, your family, and even your lawyer friends. You can ask around and address any grievances you might have with your attorney but try to work with them rather than around them.
Live Tweeting Your Divorce
One of the last things you should do for ethical and legal reasons is to make public posts about the day-to-day of your divorce process. Everything you post can be analyzed, investigated, and somehow used against you. Please do not give it to them in the first place. Be especially careful with sensitive information, but also consider how any other kind of social media posts might affect your divorce. Even if things seem to be sailing smoothly, you have no guarantee that the other side won’t spot the potential for an imbalance in negotiations and press on that advantage. Again, consider not posting until the final decision has been made by a judge.
Assuming Things Will Work Out Just Fine
One of the last and simplest divorce mistakes to avoid is to think that everything will be just fine without putting in the necessary prep. The divorce process is lengthy and arduous. You need to prepare by thinking about what you want out of this, what conditions you’re adamant about, and if kids are involved, how you want to split custody (or if custody should be split at all). There are a lot of details to be worked out and issues to be resolved. Do not hesitate to get started with your attorney sooner rather than later.