If you are unhappy with your marriage, you may be thinking about divorce. While you may be keen on ending your marriage and finalizing your divorce as quickly as possible, a speedy settlement is not always in your best interests. While you do not want to drag on your divorce for years, you should take adequate time to go over all your debts and assets and ensure that you get your fair share.
Many couples make financial mistakes in their divorce, but there are some other things that should be avoided. For example, emotions often get in the way. Some people focus on the past way too much. Some parents think only about themselves and what they want, rather than focus on their children. Others opt for a long and costly court case rather than using less expensive options such as mediation to settle their divorce.
If you have never been through a divorce before, then you likely do not know what to expect. You may only know what you have seen on TV, which by the way, is not how it goes in real life. Or maybe you have done some online research, but the truth is that every divorce case is different. Some people have kids, while others do not. There are also different debts and assets involved. Each state has different laws as well, so it is highly unlikely that your divorce will go the same way as your friend’s, family member’s or neighbors.
So how can you best prepare for a divorce? Your best bets are to hire a lawyer early on and avoid these common mistakes while in the process of reaching your divorce settlement.
Not Understanding Your Options
This is probably the biggest mistake couples make in the divorce process. A divorce does not have to be a nasty courtroom battle. In fact, you do not have to settle your case in court at all if you and your spouse can agree on all the major issues on your own. In a relatively easy divorce, you could do an internet divorce or even a DIY divorce, which would allow you to settle your case without a lawyer. However, you and your spouse would have to have a good relationship built on trust. Also, this probably would not be the best option if children or high value assets are involved.
Many people choose mediation because it allows them to resolve issues with the help of a neutral third party. This person can guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have. Mediation is often the preferred method of divorce, as it is cheaper and quicker than litigation.
However, if you have a highly combative spouse who refuses to compromise, then you may have to battle it out in court. The best option is to consult with a lawyer and learn more about the best divorce option based on your situation.
Being the Victim
There is no excuse for being in the dark about your household finances. You should know about all financial accounts and have a good idea of the monthly expenses. You should also know about your spouse’s income and expenses, such as car loans, personal loans, student loans and credit cards. You should also have access to tax returns, retirement accounts and mortgage records. Be as savvy about assets and debts as possible, since ignorance will not get you anywhere in a divorce case. Knowledge is power.
Letting Your Emotions Get in the Way
This is a common issue in divorce cases. Some people vow to seek revenge on their spouse after being wronged (typically in issues relating to infidelity or mistrust). However, strong emotions such as anger can make a divorce even worse and cause it to last much longer than necessary. Plus, punishing your spouse will only make him or her even angrier, which does nothing to speed up the process. Nobody comes to an agreement, resulting in increased lawyer’s fees, court costs, and more. The best thing you can do is be amicable, compromise and move on.
Refusing to Compromise
As mentioned earlier, refusing to compromise can have a negative impact on your marriage. It is normal to be upset about the end of a marriage, but letting this anger fester will only make matters worse. A divorce is not just about you, so do not make it so you have to have everything your way. It will just create more conflict and make the process more difficult. The best thing you can do is work with your spouse and come up with an agreement you can both live with, even though it may not be exactly what you want. This is crucial if children are involved; do not make them pay for their parents’ inability to get along.
Seek Legal Help
Divorces are not events people do on a regular basis, so there are many mistakes to be made. While you likely will not get rich from a divorce, it is possible to miss out on a lot of money—money that comes in handy as you transition from married life to single life. Also, you will want to avoid mistakes that make your divorce more expensive and contentious.
Palm Beach divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler can guide you through the process and make sure you do not leave anything on the table in your divorce. He can also give you advice to keep your emotions in check so you can settle your divorce with less stress. Call (954) 346-6464 to schedule a consultation today.