About to begin a divorce, or already in the thick of one? During divorce, everything you do is just as important as all the things you don’t do. Make one big divorce mistake and you could torpedo your chances of upholding your best interests in court.
Check out this list of seven divorce mistakes parties commonly make, and be sure to avoid them.
Divorce Mistake #1: Leaving Wills & Trusts Untouched
One of the most common mistakes and possibly one of the absolute worst to make is not changing your wills or trusts after your divorce. Just because you are divorced doesn’t mean your ex-spouse automatically loses rights to what you have set aside in your will for them. Forget to change it, pass away, and your ex-spouse could be getting a portion of your estate that you really wanted to go to your family or new spouse.
Divorce Mistake #2: Insisting on Fighting
Divorces are represented in all forms of entertainment media as big legal battles between two spouses. With a collaborative approach or one that uses a form of mediation, you and your spouse could potentially side-step the worst fights and find an amicable solution. Before you dive into your divorce, talk to one of our attorneys about these alternatives to see if they could work for your case.
Divorce Mistake #3: Involving your Children
It is crucial for everyone’s happiness that you keep your kids out of your divorce as much as possible. Telling them too much of the details can stress them out. Trying to make them side with you and not your spouse on day-to-day issues can be damaging, and the court might see it as you trying to create parental alienation; in such a case, you could be penalized, perhaps by rewarding more custody to your spouse.
Divorce Mistake #4: Waiting for the Holidays/Birthdays/Special Occasions to End
So many married couples intentionally wait for holidays or special occasions to pass before filing for divorce since they are afraid of spoiling the day or even. All this really does is keep them in an unhappy marriage for that much longer, which increases the chances of the divorce becoming contested especially if adultery is involved not to mention added holiday alcohol that can turn a bad situation worse. The calendar should not dictate when you decide to file for divorce.
Divorce Mistake #5: Forgetting about Property Taxes
The court will probably want to temporarily award the family home to whichever spouse gets primary child custody to maintain the children’s routine. This looks like a huge victory on the surface but it can be big financial trouble when you consider property taxes, mortgages, and the cost of maintaining a typical home. If it looks like you are going to win the home but don’t think you can afford it, consider alternatives, like selling it for profit and keeping the majority.
Divorce Mistake #6: Intentionally Increasing Debt
Sometimes spouses make the enormous mistake of thinking they are free to spend as they want just before a divorce and it won’t matter to them; they either think the debt is going to spill onto the main breadwinner or that it will somehow disappear due to the complexities of divorce. Neither is likely to be true. Debt is divided just like property (equally), but debt that was amassed by one person a brief period of time before a divorce is filed could be dropped onto their lap alone if it was done intentionally.
Divorce Mistake #7: Settling Too Fast
It is a considerable relief to put your divorce behind you, but you should not rush to get to the end. Deciding to settle for the first draft of your divorce agreement just to speed things up can sell yourself short in so many ways, it is not worth it. Review the stipulations of your divorce thoroughly with your attorney to avoid regret years down the line.
Kevin Cadora, Lauren Fair, and the team at the Fair Cadora family law firm understand how hard a divorce can be on your entire family, particularly during the holidays. www.faircadora.com