Going through a divorce can be incredibly stressful. Save yourself additional upset by doing your best to avoid:
Listening to the Wrong People. Make sure to do your research and choose the right attorney; then be sure to listen to and follow what that attorney says. It can be hard to ignore the personal divorce stories you’ll hear from friends, family, neighbors, and others. Remember, every divorce deals with a unique set of facts and circumstances. If you hear something about divorce that resonates with you, consult with your attorney before taking action to help ensure you’re making sound decisions with counsel from an experienced professional. It’s also advisable to consult with a financial advisor and/or tax professional as you work toward finalizing any agreements. Your attorney should have referrals for other professionals you might need during the divorce process and do follow up with your referrals!
Making Emotional Decisions. Work out your emotional issues with your therapist and confer with your attorney to ensure you make sound legal decisions. If your attorney is inappropriately escalating the conflict, that may be a sign you need to switch counsel. It can be extremely difficult but do try to put emotions aside and focus on the facts when you make decisions regarding money and children. It’s also important to look several years down the road and to keep your long-range goals in perspective.
Not Understanding the Money. Make sure you have a good understanding of your assets and debts. Even if you are in a hurry to get divorced and want to keep things amicable, or you are conflict-avoidant, it’s worth the time and effort to make sure you obtain and have a full understanding of your financial circumstances. This can be done informally or formally, through the discovery process. Verify your ex’s income and accounts before making any final decisions because it’s difficult, and often impossible, to undo agreements once they are made.
Not Asking Questions. Work closely with your attorney and ask questions if you don’t understand something. Don’t simply delegate all decisions to your attorney hoping the lawyer will make all the right decisions for you. A good attorney will welcome any questions and be thankful for the opportunity to ensure you are understanding the process and making sound decisions. Read every email and document your attorney sends you and make sure you fully comprehend every aspect of any document that you sign as well as the agreements you commit to.
Viewing Your Kids as Allies. Try as best as you can to work with your ex on coming up with a joint message to tell your kids regarding your separation. This can be something like, “We both love you very much and will always work together to make sure you are safe and loved. It is okay for you to love both of us, and you never need to take sides.” Do not badmouth your ex in front of your kids or leverage a child for your own means. This can be so harmful and confusing for your children.
Fighting over Personal Property. Before you waste time and resources fighting over personal property like silverware, perform a cost analysis to determine whether it’s worth the fight. Sure, you might end up with an expensive piece of art, but you might expend the value fighting over it while possibly missing out on other opportunities/assets. Generally, it’s not worth fighting over every single dish, piece of furniture, and tool in the shed.
Venting on Social Media and Inappropriately. This still arises. You should NEVER post anything about your divorce online or otherwise. If you need to vent, do it with your therapist or other trusted party that you know will hold the information in confidence and not allow it to undermine you. Social media postings are regularly used to undermine financial, parenting, and other claims. It’s simply unnecessary and not worth the risk to put your personal business on the internet for anyone and everyone to see. Understand that even if someone promises to be discreet, that party could still be subpoenaed for information that could undermine you. Other than with your lawyer, keeping mum is best.