Whether you are considering asking your spouse for a divorce or are already in the midst of one, emotions are probably running high. However, it’s crucial that you try to leave your feelings out of the negotiations to avoid making mistakes that will hurt your case.
One misstep in how you handle your divorce could negatively affect your future for years to come. Here are five common mistakes to avoid during your divorce:
1. Forgetting to update your estate plan
Your wills or trusts may be the last thing on your mind during your divorce, but you mustn’t forget to update your estate plan after your split is final. A divorce doesn’t necessarily mean your ex will automatically lose their rights to what you have left to them in your documents. If you fail to update it and pass away, a portion of your estate could go to your former spouse – even if you’re remarried.
2. Insisting on making it adversarial
The media usually portrays divorces as petty and contentious courtroom dramas; however, today, it’s increasingly common for spouses to opt for a more collaborative and respectful approach to their divorce like mediation. In mediation, you and your ex set the terms of your separation together with a neutral third-party. Not only does mediation save time and money, but it also eliminates the need to be adversaries.
3. Putting your children in the middle
Divorce is especially hard on children and exposing them to too much conflict can negatively affect their well-being. Avoid sharing too many details about your divorce with your children or bad-mouthing your ex. This is harmful to them, and the court may also view it as you attempting parental alienation and award more custody to your ex.
5. Keeping the house
If the judge awards you the house in your divorce, it may feel like a victory initially. However, the costs of maintaining a home, property taxes and mortgages can quickly become a financial burden for one person. If you think there’s a good chance you’ll get the house, determine whether you can truly afford it or sell it for profit.
6. Settling too quickly
No one wants to prolong the painful process of divorce; however, it’s important you don’t settle too fast merely to put it behind you. Always review your divorce stipulations carefully with a family law attorney to avoid getting less than you deserve.