Key Divorce Mistakes to Avoid

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So you’ve been served with divorce papers or have just filed for divorce. What can you do now? Well, for starters, you should have received enough information from your attorney about what to expect from the divorce process itself. However, understanding the divorce process does not explain what you should do, or in this case shouldn't do, on day-to-day interactions with your future former spouse. Here are my top five mistakes you should avoid during your divorce.

1. My Friend Said: While all citizens of the United States are considered equal, the same cannot be said about divorce. You retain an attorney for legal advice, do not depend on the advice of others. There are countless times where a client will state that they heard from a friend or family member that something in particular should or should not occur in a divorce. The fact is that the issues and facts in a divorce can vary so widely that no two divorces will conclude in the same exact form. Every aspect and detail of your life is unique and as such the resulting divorce will be as well. Despite how well-intentioned your friend’s advice may be, listen to the advice and counsel of your attorney.

2. Insults & Disparaging: You’re already involved within the divorce process. Once your divorce is underway, most of your friends, family, and even co-workers will know something went wrong to the extent that you no longer wish to remain married. There is no need to engage in mudslinging, insults or name-calling with each other or to those around you. Unfortunately, doing so only creates further trouble for you by placing your credibility at risk through the use of witnesses and other evidence. Sadly, this does not mean your spouse won’t do the same, however, the key is not to react in the same manner. Instead, be smarter and keep detailed notes and even copies of messages of any behavior of this kind.

3. Utilizing the Children as a Game Piece: Nothing is more detrimental to the well-being of your children than utilizing them as a bartering technique against your spouse. Unfortunately, this is commonly done by both spouses in an attempt to win higher ground in other aspects of the divorce, such as spousal maintenance (alimony), division of property, and division of assets. Be true and real to yourself and, more importantly, your children when you make decisions both day to day and in the divorce concerning your children and your spouse. Are you truly demanding joint legal custody because of your genuine interest to co-parent your children or is it merely for a break from child support obligations? Are you truly safeguarding your children’s well-being when limiting contact between the children and your spouse or are you leveraging their relationship out of spite or for personal gain? Your spouse may not be a good spouse, but are they or can they be a good parent? Make sure to think this over and save your children from unnecessary worry during your divorce.

4. Refusing to Negotiate: Imagine for a second allowing a random stranger to decide the course of your life? Doesn’t sound appealing? Well, I hate to break it to you, but refusing to negotiate your divorce in all aspects is basically the same thing. Think about it. The Judge doesn’t know you, your spouse, your children, or family customs, and, yet, on a particular date assigned to your case, a Judge will here mere facts about your case such as incomes, investments, property owned, children’s schedules, and standard of living and layout a specific framework that you and your family will have to live with, whether you like it or not. This is not to say you should give in or give up, however, you should, with your attorney, carefully determine what factors are most important to you, and be willing to compromise to achieve your primary goals.

5. Social Media: If only this topic would not have to be on this list, but sadly it is. Here is the most perfect advice regarding social media posts and your divorce….Don’t. Do. It. Don’t post about your spouse. Don’t post about what your spouse did or didn’t do with the children. Don’t post about the disagreement that came up during negotiation. Don’t Post. If you are unable to limit your posts in this manner, simply deactivate your accounts until your divorce is concluded. This is particularly important since electronic evidence in the form of text messages, tweets, and Facebook posts are being used as evidence in courtrooms more frequently with each passing day. If the consequences to your divorce are not sufficient to deter you from posting, here’s a thought…your children will have or may already have social media accounts of their own. Are your posts really something you want your kids seeing either now or someday? Remember, the internet never forgets and once something is posted it will always survive out there for everyone to see.

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