7 most common divorce mistakes to avoid
Divorce can be a traumatic, confusing, and emotionally draining event in the best of circumstances. In most cases emotional stress can make people irrational and they can take an already bad situation and make it far worse by making some common mistakes I see over and over.
Let’s remember that when you decided to get married, you didn’t imagine that one day you would be facing your spouse in court where you would have to fight for time with your children, argue for or against support, or divide the silver set you received as a wedding gift. Most of us go into marriage in love and naïve, and that leaves us vulnerable and uneducated when the unfortunate reality of divorce comes knocking on our door.
What decisions are made from the date the divorce is filed and forward can have a dramatic impact on the divorce process and your life. These are the mistakes you need to avoid.
Avoid being reckless, especially on social media
There has never been a time in history more important than now to make sure that we are very conscious about what we say and how we act since every person around us is equipped with a smart phone that has the capability to document our actions and share it with the world. Everything is recorded and once you post it, you can’t take it back. In almost every case Facebook posts and text messages come into evidence. Know that if you put in writing in any form a judge is going to read it.
Avoid using kids against your spouse or making them choose a side
Kids often suffer the most during a divorce and you need to understand that what you do or say to them can have a profound impact on their wellbeing and future. Children do not understand divorce. By using your child as a pawn or making them choose sides, you multiply the harm you are causing them. Instead, show them love and help them understand that regardless of the outcome or the situation, they will always be loved by both parents. They are watching and learning from this situation, so make sure you are conscious of how important both you and your spouse are to them during this difficult time.
Avoid being dishonest about your assets during a divorce
Some people feel quite disturbed to accept the fact that they may split or give up assets they have earned during their marriage. Especially when there is a lot of anger and animosity, some people will try to hide or conceal some of the assets they think their spouse may not know about. Marriage is a partnership, one spouse always makes more than the other, and monetary and non-monetary contributions are considered equal. Trying to hide assets is offensive to judges and, in this day and age, there are always tracks left. It is not even necessary to show where the money went, just that it is gone and the penalties can be very stiff.
Avoid getting involved in another relationship before the divorce is over
It is very common that people will seek emotional support during a failing marriage and this often can lead to getting romantically involved with another person while still being legally married. Having an affair is pretty common but where it comes up in the divorce is when marital assets have been “dissipated” on the affair, when children are exposed, and when one party wants to “punish” the other for the affair. It is best to postpone entering into a new relationship until after you are divorced.
Not accounting for taxes during a divorce
There can be tax implications that result from a divorce and many people are uninformed during the process. While many cases cannot afford a forensic accountant to review tax returns and bank accounts, at the very least, speaking to a CPA is a smart move. It is always best to have any agreement into which you enter reviewed by a tax specialist prior to your signing. Attorneys are not tax experts.
Not seriously considering mediation
Mediation is when both parties sit together with a third party mediator and discuss all the issues to come to a reasonable agreement that both parties can live with. Mediation is required in Hillsborough County and all mediators are certified by the State of Florida. Sometimes offers are unreasonable but many times settlement is a possibility. Knowing that you will never get your best day in court during mediation, because that would be the other party’s worst day in court, be prepared and give it a good faith effort. Having an agreement that you can live with is much better than rolling the dice with a judge that is going to make a decision about your life based on a few hours of testimony. Also, and more importantly, money that would be spent on lawyers and costs is saved, the emotion in the fight is diffused, and the parties can begin the process of rebuilding their lives.
Not choosing the right attorney
Not all attorneys are created equal and even though your friends may have the best intentions when they give you a contact to their attorney friend, you need to make sure whoever you work with has a solid reputation for helping people with divorce and family law issues. Choose an attorney that is experienced in family law and an attorney with whom you feel comfortable. Divorce can have a dramatic impact on the rest of your life so choosing the right attorney is crucial.
Here at Maney Family Law, we are compassionate to the emotional needs of our clients. Paul S. Maney has been practicing in Marital and Family Law for 14 years. He holds a distinguished status with Martindale-Hubbell and has been chosen in the 2017 Best of Tampa Bay profile in Family Law. Paul focuses his practice almost exclusively in divorce, family law, child custody, alimony, military divorce, modifications and other family law related cases.