Finalizing a divorce is one of the most difficult things most people will experience. While divorce is a legal process, it is also an emotional one. When emotions are involved, it’s easy to make mistakes going through the divorce process. If you’re angry, hurt, or sad about your pending divorce, it could cloud your better judgment and prevent you from making prudent financial and legal decisions. While divorce is the legal ending of a marital contract, it’s also the end of a relationship, often involving raw feelings and sentiment.
Nine Mistakes Sure to Derail Your Divorce
There is a saying that hurt people hurt people, and nowhere is that more evident than during divorce proceedings. It can be challenging for couples to separate how they feel about their estranged partner, so they are better positioned to make necessary legal decisions with a clear head. Below are ten common mistakes couples cause that can derail or stall divorce proceedings, adding to your total legal costs.
- Allowing Emotions to Lead the Way: Whether it’s anger, greed, or revenge, many of the most toxic emotions can rise to the forefront during divorce proceedings. While it’s completely understandable to have these emotions, they can derail a divorce like nothing else. When parties make choices based on their feelings, they can hurt themselves and those who must live with their choices. Many spouses find themselves fighting to keep a house they can’t afford out of spite or refusing a settlement agreement to prolong the divorce process. This often happens if one party hopes to change their estranged spouse's heart and mind. Not only can these antics lead to added legal expenses but also emotional strain.
- Refusing Legal Advice: Knowing someone who’s been through a divorce isn’t the same as having a legal advocate on your side to help you navigate the process. If you have minor children, you will need help planning a parenting plan and ensuring custody and financial support issues are settled in the best interests of you and your children. So, if you own a home or have minor children, your divorce can quickly become very complicated. A divorce attorney can advise you as you navigate this process.
- Giving Up on Yourself: It’s easy to feel defeated, even if you are at the beginning of the divorce process. You may feel as if you’ve failed or have deserved what’s happening to you. Feelings of defeat or refusing to defend yourself are often temporary, and when parties recover, they are regretful they didn’t fight harder for their interests. Even if you didn’t initiate the divorce, it doesn’t mean that your estranged spouse oversees the process. Don’t accept their terms to get the divorce finalized if they are one-sided. You must think about the long-term ramifications of your choices. Once you sign an agreement, it’s often binding – unless there was coercion or a significant reason to overturn it.
- Assuming Your Financial Situation Will be Okay: Your financial situation is your responsibility. If your spouse once handled these issues, it’s not realistic or wise to allow or hope they will ensure your financial health during your settlement agreement. You need to understand the tax implications of asset transfers and support awards, like your alimony and child support. Your taxes could be impacted by retirement and pension plan divisions as well. If you feel uncertain how to navigate these topics, secure the assistance of a financial planner. It’s not wise to assume it’ll work itself out or someone else will handle the issue for you.
- Keeping Secrets From Your Attorney: Hiding facts, assets, or your intentions from your attorney is unwise. Your attorney is your advocate and works for you, but they can’t do your job if you aren’t honest from the onset. Failing to disclose all details and facts pertinent to your case will prolong your divorce and possibly do irrevocable harm to your case and interests.
- Manipulating & Triangulating Your Children: It’s not uncommon for children to internalize their feelings about their parents’ divorce. The process can be emotionally fraught and damaging to them. The worst thing parents can do is make the divorce harder by manipulating their children to get even with a spouse or triangulating them in arguments and negotiations. You and your spouse are getting a divorce, but your children are not. They will be connected to you forever, so manipulating them and triangulating them in the divorce process can leave them traumatized.
- Complicating Your Relationship With Your Future Ex: It’s easy to slip back into an intimate relationship with your estranged spouse, but it’s a bad idea. If you and your spouse are separated but living in the same home, slipping back into your old routines is easy. Resuming a physical relationship with your ex could seriously derail your divorce and cloud your judgment about how to move forward. You must not cross this boundary unless you and your spouse agree to reconcile.
- Dating Before Your Divorce is Finalized: If you and your spouse are moving forward with your divorce amicably and smoothly, beginning to date too soon can derail the process. Since you are technically married until the divorce is finalized, it can lead to hurt feelings and make them unwilling to negotiate. They could also refuse once accepted parenting plans or custody arrangements if they’re worried about a new partner or your dating habits.
- Making Side Deals Not Included in Your Settlement Agreement: It’s great if you and your spouse have an amicable relationship and trust one another. While you can’t imagine a circumstance where your ex would not stand by a promise to you, it’s important to remember you’re getting a divorce, which is a legal process. Everything you agree to should be in writing, so it’s enforceable.
Don’t Steer Your Divorce Off Course, Contact Simmons & Associates Today!
If your marriage is broken beyond repair, you can start the divorce process by contacting Simmons & Associates. Our attorneys can help you get the ball rolling. Our law firm is dedicated to helping clients protect meet their goals, so you can feel confident when entrusting your case to our legal team. Contact our office at (405) 591-2284 to schedule a consultation with our experienced divorce attorneys today!