25 Feb How to Turn Divorce Mistakes into Success
Mistakes are inevitable in life but as the wheels of time turn, we try to take those experiences and use them to our advantage. Anything unexpected in our lives that calls for permanent changes can easily turn into a mess rather than a success. When it comes to the divorce process it is very easy to make divorce mistakes unless you are a family attorney or have easy access to one. So shouldn’t you know a thing or two about how to turn such a trying time in your life into a smooth transition? Well according to the American Psychological Association about 40-50% of marriages end in divorce in the USA. So it’s probably safe to say that you should learn what you can do to avoid divorce mistakes. For more information and facts on marriage & divorces, you can visit the website for the American Psychological Association here: https://www.apa.org/topics/divorce/
So what are the important truths about the process of divorce? What should you know to minimize possible divorce mistakes? During such an overwhelmingly emotional time in your life, decision-making may not be at its sharpest. Here are 7 points to help guide you in avoiding common legal divorce mistakes.
- Don’t allow your emotions to drive you in this process. Take the needed time to clear your mind in order to think intelligently and have the ability to strategize properly. There should be no question as to whether or not you need a lawyer. The answer is yes. Yes, you do. They will be able to properly advise you on the best legal measures to take to finalize this chapter of your life.
- Never sign anything without your attorney present. Your spouse may be looking to rush and offer a settlement, but chances are that the only reason for this is it to inhibit your ability to make a rational decision. Remember that these are permanent decisions and they do (and will) have permanent consequences.
- While your family and friends will want to join in and assist you during this trying time, do not let their opinions be a substitute for your own decision-making. They are not lawyers and will not have to live the outcome of possible divorce mistakes as you will. Listen to your lawyer because their only interest is to take the appropriate course of action on your behalf. That is what you pay them for.
- Know exactly what the process of legal discovery entails. This is a stage in a lawsuit in which each party gathers information or evidence regarding your opposing party in order to disclose information that is essential for the preparation of your case. Try to save money for the number of hours it will take for your lawyer to gather documents by speaking to your spouse and collectively agreeing to produce the requested documentation as fast as possible. After all, the lawyers for both parties are the ones who will benefit from the number of hours that will be billed for this process.
- One of the biggest divorce mistakes that exist is not taking into account the possible financial mess that will come your way. In order to fully understand the financial complications that can come from a divorce, it would be wise that you consult an accountant. Go through your finances thoroughly with the accountant and make sure that before agreeing to a settlement you know such things like the tax ramifications of a potential settlement. You should know whether or not you will be filing separate returns for the year your divorce gets finalized and who will claim the children (if applicable) or not. Make sure you’ve made a list of all bank accounts, retirement plans, insurances, stocks, etc. You’ll also need a list of your debts such as credit card balances, mortgages/leases, and loans. This will allow the accountant to properly assess your financial standing. You never want to divide assets when you don’t fully know what you’re dividing.
- Remember that you are human and that during this emotional process you may have weak moments or completely doubt that you’re making the right decision. Don’t let these feelings cause you to break and settle. Keep in mind that when you threaten a person’s financial standing, they may use unethical tactics to get you to do what works best for them and not you. Some spouses may even go as far as staging a reconciliation to soften you and weaken your approach. Try to avoid conversations with your spouse about the divorce without your lawyer present at all times.
- Ask questions! Do your best to write out a list of questions that you need answers to from your lawyer during your initial consultation. It’s a divorce lawyer so they know why you’re there. Make the most of your consult by having a list of questions ready like: How can you avoid spending more than you need to on your divorce? Does the lawyer bill hourly, flat fee, or by retainer? Get the breakdown in as much detail as possible so that you know what you’re getting yourself into. The rest of your questions should be about the best financial route to take and how to finalize the process as quickly yet efficiently as your case will allow.