"What are some of the common mistakes people make as they are just beginning the divorce process?"
You now find yourself involved, either by choice or not, in a divorce. Many individuals find this kind of thing to be embarrassing and may take it as a personal attack. It is important to think of divorce as a process of transition. Your life and the lives of your children are at a point of redefinition. Individuals can make this process much easier by avoiding common mistakes.
One common mistake is the belief that once the petition of divorce is filed, all responsibilities for the other spouse ceases. They do not! Do not cancel various insurance policies prematurely. If you do so, you may hurt your position in Court or worse cause great financial consequences that will impact the outcome of the divorce. Consult your attorney regarding the appropriate time to cancel such polices. You may be surprised how long you must keep the policies in place.
Another mistake often made at the beginning of a divorce action is being uncompromising. It is very important to adhere to the advice of your attorney. At times, individuals are unrealistic regarding the final outcome of the case. Unrealistic positions regarding the divisions of your assets and liabilities and issues concerning your children negatively impact all involved. Parents lose perspective of what impact the position can take on the children. Such uncompromising positions can cost you valuable time and money. So long as you keep your attorney fully informed of your financial situations and new developments of your case, your attorney will guide you along the best route possible towards resolution.
Divorce can be an extremely stressful time for children as well as adults. A pivotal mistake is overexposing the children to the details of the litigation. It should be the goal of both parents to protect the children from harm. The children should not be burdened with choosing sides or sending messages between the parties. The children have a right to both parents. During this kind of transition, your children should understand that their parents love them and the parents should try to maintain a sense of security. Additionally, the parents have a right and a need to share in the upbringing of their children. Open the communication lines for the sake of the children. Share information regarding class recitals, class awards, grades and behavior difficulties with your spouse.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not asking questions in order to understand the circumstances and your legal responsibilities and rights. At the beginning of any process, especially a legal process, it will serve any individual to ask as many questions as possible. Understanding what is required will help you avoid unrealistic expectations and concerns. It is generally not one’s intention to be involved in an action for divorce. For many, a divorce is the only lawsuit they will be involved in their entire lives. So ask questions of your legal representative and do some light reading and Internet searches in order to gain the knowledge you need to move forward.
Sheena A. Benjamin-Wise is a Fort Lauderdale attorney who practices marital and family law, including divorce, custody, visitation and access, and child support. She is the founder and sole practitioner of the Law Office of Sheena Benjamin-Wise.
Certified Divorce Financial Analyst
Business Valuators / CPAs