When going through a divorce, the relationship between you and your soon-to-be ex can
become contentious. Understandably, some tension and stress is common, but out-of-check
emotions and poor communication can cause things to deteriorate. This often means higher
legal fees and more conflict – both during the process and after. There are ways to make the
process go more smoothly by learning from mistakes we have seen divorcing couples make
over the years.
Avoid making these nine common mistakes couples make during divorce and you can make your divorce a less stressful
When You’re Deciding to Leave
1. Not having a discussion about divorce
Your spouse expects you to be completely honest and
open – you are married, after all. If you’re having problems in your marriage, take the time to
have a meaningful conversation with your partner. Don’t jump the gun and tell your significant
other you want to end things before even discussing the state of your relationship. You can
save yourself time and money if you just sit and talk with your spouse about how you should
handle your marital problems before things get out of control
2. Breaking the trust you’ve built
Relationships are built on trust and honesty. If you’re gathering
your belongings and moving them out behind your partner’s back, this could blow up in your
face. Your spouse will find out, and then you’ve broken the trust you’ve built over your time
together. This will make divorce negotiations much more difficult as is just one way to start the
process off in a way that will add additional strain.
3. Making nasty comments
Although you may be feeling angry at your partner, it’s best to keep a
level head and take the high road by avoiding name-calling and other inflammatory language.
The less adversarial you are, the smoother the divorce process will go. This is especially critical
if you have children.
When Managing Your Finances
4. Hiding money
Hiding your income or assets is not a good idea. Private investigators and
financial experts are paid to find your money and identify areas where things just do not add
up. Not to mention that a judge will not take kindly to finding out you hid money from your
spouse. Judges don’t appreciate being lied to and will punish you for it. Completing
your required court financial statement accurately and completely is not just required, but it is
also makes the most sense.
5. Hoarding financial information
During a divorce, if you fail to share your information, it will
increase your legal and accounting fees without question. It’s much better to be open and
6. Spiteful spending
Withdrawing money or charging expenses will hurt you in subsequent
negotiations. If you have to take money out early in the process, it is best to speak with a
divorce lawyer or discuss the issue during a mediation session.
When You’re in Negotiations
7. Being stubborn
The harder you make it to reach an agreement, the more money comes out of
your pocket in legal and/or mediation fees. It might feel good in the moment to argue about
the little things, but it likely won’t get you anywhere. Hold your head high, keep an eye on the
future (and your wallet), and try to come to resolutions in a reasonable amount of time once
you have the necessary information to move forward.
8. Post-divorce fighting
Battling with your former spouse over child issues and money, or picking
at each other over past conflict and hot-button issues, will be damaging to everyone involved.
It’s draining both financially and emotionally.
When You’re Back “On the Market”
9. Starting a relationship too early
You may not be ready emotionally to begin a new
relationship before your divorce is finalized. Also, you may risk making your ex-partner jealous
and causing issues in divorce negotiations. If you do start to date, it is best to keep things low
profile. Also, be cautious about introducing children to your dates. This area must be handled
carefully, as it can cause much upset to children – even older children – and your former spouse.
Be respectful and move slowly.
Stephen McDonough is an attorney and certified mediator in Massachusetts. He works closely with clients facing divorce or other family conflicts. He is the owner of Next Phase Legal in Medfield, Massachusetts.