Divorce is a complicated process. Talk to anyone who has been through it and they will give you their take on it. They will give you advice on what you should do. They will tell you what you should avoid doing. It can be hard to keep track.
Not to mention, if you are on the verge of divorce, you are likely feeling very emotional. Heightened emotions can lead to bad decisions, and there will be a ton of decisions you will have to make in terms of family, finances, and the law.
You want to make sure you do the right things in the midst of a divorce. One wrong move could jeopardize your future. Here are some things you should avoid doing if you want the best outcome possible in your divorce.
Do Not Forgo a Lawyer and Financial Advisor
Many people choose to divorce via the DIY route, and while this may be cheaper, it is not necessarily better. Some people can successfully handle their divorce on their own if it is simple enough, but the vast majority of people could benefit from having a knowledgeable team on their side. This includes a lawyer and financial advisor.
Chances are, you are not knowledgeable about all the details of family law. Without a lawyer’s guidance, you could delay your divorce and make costly mistakes. Do not listen to your sister tell you she did not need a divorce lawyer. Even though lawyers can be costly, it is money well spent.
While you may have some knowledge about finances, it is best to have an expert on your side who can guide you through the financial challenges you will no doubt face during and after your divorce. You will also need advice about asset distribution so you can make the right decisions.
Do not choose just anybody to be on your team. Make sure you are comfortable with the people you pick to protect your assets. Do you understand them? Do you trust them to help you make the right decisions? Do you have some sort of connection with them? These are all important aspects because you may be working with a lawyer and financial advisor for many months.
Do Not Let Your Emotions Rule
It is normal to be hurt and angry at your spouse during a divorce, especially if they abused you or cheated on you throughout the marriage. You may even want to seek revenge. The best advice? Do not do it. Your anger is not allowing you to think clearly. It is causing you to make bad decisions, and that is the last thing you want to do in a divorce. There is a lot at stake, so find ways to relax and stay calm. When decisions need to be made, contact your lawyer and financial advisor for the best advice—and make sure you listen to them.
Do Not Hide Money
Many people are under the assumption that if they hide money or slyly give it to a close friend, it cannot be split in a divorce. This is not only immoral, but also illegal. You may think you are being clever by hiding money and assuming nobody will look for it, but chances are, someone will find it. Forensic accountants can find ways to trace the origins of the money, so do not try to play this game. It is not only a crime, but it will also complicate your divorce, so it is in your best interest to be honest and forthcoming about your finances.
Do Not Foolishly Spend Money
Unless you are a celebrity or the spouse of one, do not expect to be living the same lifestyle you did before. Divorces are expensive, costing $15,000 or more. Chances are, you will need to downgrade your home, which means you need to cut back on expenses as well. Plus, you will have to get a job or work more hours. Remember, you are on your own now, so do not expect your ex-spouse to be paying your bills. Start living within your means, and this means cutting back on the gourmet food and entertainment expenses.
Do Not Get the Kids Involved
Children are often used as pawns in a divorce. Both parents will fight over them or parents will ask children to take sides. This is never acceptable. Your children need support during this difficult time. Do not make things more stressful for them. While you should keep children about major changes that affect them, such as new living arrangements, they do not need to know every detail. Do not badmouth the other parent in front of them as well. Your ex-spouse will still be their parent regardless of the divorce, so try to make things as amiable as possible.
Do Not Forget to Change Beneficiaries on Accounts
Keep in mind that your estate planning documents, life insurance policies, retirement accounts and other accounts do not automatically change once your divorce finalized. Your plan administrator will still pay out funds to your ex-spouse in the event of your death unless you get their name removed. Once your divorce is finalized, make sure you update any policy in which your ex-spouse could inherit money upon your death.
Seek Legal Help
The actions you take during a divorce can have a profound effect on the outcome as well as your life post-divorce. Make sure you know what not to do so you can move on as easily as possible.
Broward County divorce attorney Scott J. Stadler has more than 30 years of experience handling divorce cases. He can give you solid advice as to the next steps to take and what to avoid. Schedule a consultation today. Call our office at (954) 346-6464 or fill out the online form.