Going through a divorce is a major upheaval for many people. Even if you might have been the one who initiated the divorce, it’s a big change in your life and the lives of your family. It’s a stressful time, and most people just want to be done with the divorce as soon as possible. Rushing and not knowing what you’re getting into can be one of the things that cause issues though. Below, we’ll look at some of the biggest mistakes to avoid during your divorce. Once you have a better understanding of these types of mistakes, it will become easier for you to avoid them. It can help you to avoid some serious financial missteps that you would later come to regret.
Mistake #1: Not Considering Mediation and Settlements
Not all divorces have to go through litigation. Most divorces are settled by the spouses before they get to court. This can provide some nice advantages. It means the spouses—not the court—will be the ones that determine what happens with assets, debts, etc.
It provides more control for the divorcing couple. Even if you aren’t able to reach an agreement on everything, it will reduce the number of items the judge will have to examine and decide. This can speed up the divorce.
Mistake #2: Hiring an Inexperienced Attorney
For complex divorces, you’ll likely want to have an attorney working with you. However, you do need to be careful about which divorce lawyer you hire. Always take the time to learn more about the firm you are considering, and to learn about the lawyer who will be taking your case. This is your life, after all, so you want to be sure you have someone with experience handling your divorce.
Mistake #3: Letting Emotion Rule You
Going through a divorce is an emotional process, so, naturally, you will have strong feelings about what’s happening. However, you don’t want to let your emotions take control, as it could cause problems for you now and later.
For example, if you are feeling emotional about getting rid of the family home, you might be tempted to try to keep it in the divorce. You might give up other assets to keep the home. However, is this the right decision financially? Will you be able to afford the home with just a single salary? Will you be missing out on other assets that could be more valuable?
There’s another way that emotion could cause issues in your divorce, of course. If you are confrontational with your ex, send them angry text messages, or call to harass them, this will not reflect well on you in the courts.
Mistake #4: Rushing Through the Process and Agreeing to Anything
You want your divorce to be done and over with. We understand. It’s not only a hassle, but the entire process can feel like an overwhelming amount of weight on your shoulders. You want it finished. However, you shouldn’t rush things because you might end up agreeing to something that isn’t in your best interest.
Mistake #5: Having Unrealistic Expectations
Some people who are going through a divorce aren’t realistic about the outcomes. They believe that they will be the party that comes out of the divorce with everything because they feel they can prove to the judge that they were the “good one” in the marriage. However, it doesn’t work that way. In Arizona, it’s a community property state. This means that the property is typically split between the couples as evenly as possible.
You aren’t going to get the house, cars, and all of the assets. Additionally, if you were seeking a large spousal support award, you will likely be disappointed. Spousal support, when it’s awarded in Arizona, tends to be smaller than you might think, and it doesn’t last forever.
You need to temper your expectations going into the divorce, consider the mistakes to avoid during your divorce. Have realistic goals.
Mistake #6: Taking Legal Advice from the Wrong People
Your friends and family care for you, and they likely want to provide you with advice on what you should do and how you should handle your case. Although their support is wonderful, it doesn’t mean you should take advice from them unless they are family law attorneys. Most of them can’t protect your properly from the mistakes to avoid during your divorce.
Your Aunt Mable from New York who was divorced in 1979 might feel that she has some insight into what you should do, but you shouldn’t take what she has to say as legal advice. The only legal advice you get should come from an attorney who works in the state where you will be getting divorced.
Mistake #7: Trying to Hide Assets
Although you might not want to give your ex certain assets and money that you have, you don’t have the legal right to keep it from them in a divorce. The only property that is fully yours to keep is your separate property. Your community assets need to be counted and divided according to the law. Hiding assets could put you into some legal hot water.
Mistake #8: Posting Too Much Information Online
One of the other mistakes that many of today’s divorcing couples make is living their entire life online. They put up information about their divorce, disparage their ex, and talk about their divorce plans for the entire world to see. Keep in mind that the things you post online aren’t going to disappear. They can even be used against you in your divorce.
These aren’t the only potential mistakes you could make when you are getting divorced, but they are some of the most common. Make sure that you don’t commit them, and you’ll have a less stressful divorce and aftermath.
Talk with an Attorney Soon
If you have anything other than a very simple divorce, you’ll want to talk with an attorney. They can help you with all aspects of your divorce, as well as those mistakes to avoid during your divorce, or just the bits you need them to handle if you want to save some money. Are you considering speaking with a family law attorney in Arizona? Consider our fourth Pro Bono event in Mesa, on December 3, 2021.