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6 Common Mistakes to Avoid During Your Divorce
When you’re going through a divorce, you’re dealing with a lot of feelings as well as decisions you need to make to secure your future. Unfortunately, there are many common mistakes people make during this emotionally charged time that have unintended consequences. We can become so swept up in our emotions that we do the wrong thing regardless of what we know is right.
That’s why it’s important to have the right family law attorney for your case. An experienced lawyer in family law will create a supportive environment for you to feel safe while informing you of your options. It’s important that you hear the sage advice they give you as it’ll make all the difference, not just in your divorce settlement but in your future.
Here Are the 6 Most Common Mistakes We See During Divorce Cases
1. Allowing Your Emotions to Get the Best of You
Let’s start with the biggest mistake a person can make in a divorce—letting your emotions take over. It’s understandable (and acceptable) for you to feel a range of emotions including rage, anger, sadness, and frustration. The problem is when you let these emotions color your judgment as you make decisions.
When you’re discussing a decision with your attorney, try to step away from intense feelings so logic and reason can guide your decision-making. That way, you can be confident that your choices are made in the best interests of you and your children. If necessary, you might want to seek out a counselor, therapist, or clergyperson to help you sort out these emotions.
2. Not Obtaining the Counsel You Need During This Difficult Time
Even though people know they should hire an experienced attorney to represent them during a divorce, emotions and worries can lead people down the wrong path. Sometimes, people listen to friends’ “advice” on how to handle a divorce, when they actually don’t know enough about their situation. This can lead to trying to DIY it or hiring an attorney too late in the process. Others worry about the cost of a divorce and try to do it alone or find a “cheap” attorney.
Our best advice is to hire an experienced family law attorney as soon as possible. If your goal is to avoid a long, contentious, and expensive court battle, share that with your attorney. A good advocate will learn about your unique situation and goals, and provide you with the best course of action. If you don’t want to go to court, for example, you can use alternative dispute resolution methods like mediation to draw up an amicable settlement with your ex. While we understand that money is a concern, the best money you’ll ever spend is to make sure your future is secure and that you’re informed of all your rights.
Your attorney may recommend that you seek out other professionals during your divorce case. These professionals might include a divorce coach, a therapist, a financial advisor, or a career coach. Even at your best, attempting to go through the process of divorce is difficult and time-consuming. Add to that the emotions you have to deal with, and it can cause problems. And, if you have children, you have even more work to do to get the whole family through this difficult time.
3. Having a Short-Sided View of Your Financial Future
Many people realize that their lifestyle or income may not be the same right after a divorce. This can include whether you are paying spousal or child support, or receiving it. If you were a stay-at-home parent, you might need to look into getting a job or going back to school for job training. Whatever your current situation, you need to have a clear understanding of what you need to do to secure your future.
Your future self won’t be in your current emotional whirlwind. In the future, you might look back and wish you had seen the events with more objectivity and protected yourself properly. Take the time to consider the advice you’re receiving, especially from your attorney and financial advisor, as they’re there for the sole benefit of supporting you through this difficult time and making sure you get what’s best for you. If you’re concerned about “asking your ex for money,” that’s why you have an attorney: to help you amicably resolve your divorce and come up with an agreement that you can both live with as you move forward.
4. Lack of Communication and Honesty With Your Attorney
Communication is so important when you’re working with your attorney. For you to get the settlement you’re looking for, transparency is 100% necessary, especially if there are children involved.
Your attorney must take what you say at face value. If you lie to your attorney (or hold back important information), then you can really hurt your case. Instead, you need to be open and honest from your first consultation, even if the truth may be personally embarrassing. Remember, your attorney is a professional who’s seen and heard just about everything in their legal career.
5. Making ‘Verbal Agreements’ With Your Ex
This may sound cold and calculated, but if you want something as part of the divorce, it must be in the final divorce decree. Don’t bet that you can “work out the details” later on your own. Your spouse may change his or her mind, and without putting that information into writing, you have no legal leg to stand on. That’s why you should work through your attorney to create the final agreement.
6. Having Unrealistic Expectations for Your Outcome
Many people go into their divorce angry and wanting to “take it all” from their ex, whether that means getting the house or getting full or primary custody of the kids. But this can lead to some serious emotional let-down when that doesn’t happen.
A good attorney will know the laws and court system in New Jersey and tell you what’s reasonable for an outcome in your situation. Also, an experienced family law attorney will advise you on the easiest, most affordable way to settle your divorce, rather than opting for protracted, contentious, expensive litigation in court.
Prepare Effectively for Your Divorce
It’s terribly easy to make a mistake during a divorce. But these mistakes can ultimately cost you. The six mistakes we listed are the most common and some of the most damaging you can make when filing for divorce. Working with an experienced family law attorney ensures you don’t fall into these pitfalls.
Contact the Experienced Family Law Attorneys at Smedley Law Group in Runnemede, NJ Today
If you’re thinking about filing for divorce, you’ll also most likely be dealing with another matter like child custody, child support, or division of assets, so you’ll need to speak with a qualified attorney. The New Jersey family law attorneys at Smedley Law Group represent clients throughout the state, including West Deptford, Woodbury Heights, Runnemede, and Westville. We understand how challenging this time can be for you, which is why we will fight hard to protect your interests, and the interests of your loved ones, throughout the legal process. Call us at (856) 251-0800 or fill out our confidential contact form to schedule a consultation. We have an office conveniently located at 750 Cooper Street, Woodbury, NJ 08096.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.