10 Common Mistakes People Make During Divorce
Avoid these common pitfalls made during divorce:
Hiring the wrong attorney.
During the divorce process, the proper selection of a divorce attorney is crucial. Often times people believe that they should pick “the most aggressive” or the famous lawyer; or the one their friend used; or, the attorney they read about in the newspapers. Skill level and track record are essential. Chemistry and comfort in relating to your attorney is very crucial too as you go through the painful and tumultuous process of divorce. The attorney-client relationship and building trust is important. That is why we recommend that you arrange consultations with attorneys, speak with your friends, do your research on the internet, and think through what is most important to you before making a final decision.
Lack of sensitivity about well being of the children in divorce.
I am sensitive and concerned about impact of divorce on children. As a Court appointed Child Guardian, as an extension to being a matrimonial lawyer, I recognize and encounter
the gravest mistakes of not making children a priority in your divorce process. Many parents, in order to save money, or “keep the peace,” relinquish parental and visitation rights. However, children need both parents and parents must learn to respectfully interact with one another, notwithstanding the personal dislike underlying the divorce.
Talking badly about the other parent or making children choose sides.
Similarly, it is egregious to talk badly about the other parent or encourage children to take sides, or to marginalize a parent’s role and participation. It is also inappropriate to fight for more time and involvement than one can properly or realistically handle.
Informing a child or children too early of a pending separation.
In an attempt to “prepare” a child or children for what is ahead, even when your intentions are good, mistakes happen. Telling kids too soon creates anxiety in anticipation of unknown or change. Other mistakes include presenting the separation or divorce as “temporary” or “for the better”. While vindictive and punitive behavior is problematic, being super stoic about the whole thing is not a helpful thing either.
Divorce is complicated.
Do not make decisions without understanding their full implications. If the information you read or gather is confusing, consult with attorneys so as to thoroughly understand your rights, options and obligations. Don’t take advice from a friend who just went through divorce. Your situation may be different. Remember, you and your children have to live with whatever decisions you make.
Many people relinquish control of their divorce and just let the attorney handle the matter.
It is your life and well being, get the advice and counsel of your attorney. Make sure you are informed about everything that is happening. But retain ultimate responsibility. Make decisions with the counsel of your attorney without relinquishing all responsibility. It is your life and well-being that is at stake. You are the client and what you think matters.
Don’t let the emotions take over what is ultimately best for you.
Divorce is a very emotional and it can be a crushing experience. Oftentimes, the most special person in your life, the one you thought you would grow old with has become a monster dedicated to your destruction. When you or your partner has been hurt or deceived there is temptation to be revengeful and rage full. While momentarily understandable, such misconduct negatively impacts any negotiation, not to mention future co-parenting. don’t be a push over but be respectful and understanding of your spouses’ feelings and position and also understand your lawyer’s role.
Do not make your attorney your therapist.
An attorney is a “counselor-at-law”. “At law” is a critical distinction. Your divorce attorney is your legal counsel, not psychological and emotional therapist. Aside from the fact that attorney’s time is more expensive then an average therapist, a lawyer is not equipped or trained to handle emotional issues. It is an unproductive use of the time and resources, and may interfere with your legal relationship with your lawyer.
Do not fight over small stuff.
A common mistake growing out of deep personal conflict is to fight over small stuff like
Furniture, flat screen TVs, etc. The attorney’s time is expensive and by the time you win your issue, if you do, the item will cost you far more than its replacement cost. Don’t get caught up in “principles”. It is really not important to declare a battle to determine and justify how right you feel you are when yielding on smaller matters allows you to move toward a wider victory. You can lose the battle and yet still win the “war”.
Beware of getting involved in another relationship and especially introducing your children to the other person too soon. This is traumatic and confusing to the children and creates further animosity with your ex. It can definitely impede negotiations due to anger and resentment. Keep it under the radar until you reach an agreement and the matter is resolved.
*** Remember, if you are too successful in litigation, your opponent has all too many reasons to seek to upset you by continuing with ongoing legal action to seek a balance. If each believe he/she has secured reasonable positions or wins it is easier to move on.