If you are considering a divorce, it can be a long process with unforeseen obstacles along the way. Some events in a divorce will be out of your control. You can take steps to avoid unnecessary drama, high financial costs and drawn-out negotiations.
If you are considering a divorce, here are a few of the common mistakes that we’ve seen in our practice that will help you keep your sanity.
1. Ignoring Your Financial Health
If you are considering a divorce and you and your spouse have all of your financial accounts together, separate them immediately. Especially if you’ve been letting your spouse control the budget. Get copies of all of your financial records, including bank statements and tax returns. As you gather documents, you can also work on creating a future budget for your post-divorce life.
2. Failing to Create an Asset Inventory
If you and your spouse start dividing assets without knowing everything that you own, you could end up with an uneven split. To avoid this, you need to create a detailed inventory of everything you own, including personal items, real estate and financial accounts. The details for each asset should include the year you acquired it and the asset’s current worth.
3. Letting Your Emotions Take Control
Getting a divorce is an emotional process that will probably result in tears, angry outbursts and other feelings that will leave you overwhelmed at times. Feeling frustrated is not unexpected, but it can affect your decision-making process as you deal with this challenge. If you need to vent, talk to a friend or family member. Avoid using the courtroom as a place to air out your feelings.
4. Listening to the Wrong Advice
From the onset of considering a divorce throughout the divorce negotiations, your friends and family will likely have their own opinions on what you should do. You can listen to their divorce tips, but you need to remember that they don’t know everything about your situation, and they don’t have to live with the consequences of their advice. Talking with your family can help you work out some frustrations, but you should consult with a qualified divorce attorney before taking any actions.
5. Overlooking the Needs of Your Children
During the stress of a divorce, it’s easy to lose sight of your children’s needs. Focus on being emotionally supportive for them during this time. Your children should not be weapons during the divorce; don’t use them as a target for venting about the other parent. Here is another article we wrote about Parent Alienation Syndrome. It’s amazing how easy it is to avoid once you recognize the symptoms.
6. Refusal to Communicate
Refusing to talk to your spouse during the divorce is a good way to prolong the process and incur extra costs. You don’t need to be friendly if you are angry at your spouse, but simple politeness will make the process smoother for everyone, especially yourself. If speaking in person with your spouse is too painful, consider using alternative forms of communication. The good news is if you are represented by a divorce attorney, then you won’t have to communicate directly with your spouse.
7. Neglecting the IRS
The outcome of your divorce will have significant tax implications, especially if your assets change hands. If you have children, you’ll also need to be aware of how your new situation will impact your taxes. For example, child support payments are not taxable. Unless you’re a tax expert, you may want to ask for divorce advice from a tax professional to help you navigate the IRS regulations pertinent to your divorce. Here are some tax tips when filing for divorce.
Eric C. Cheshire, Esquire, P.A. has been representing parties to divorce since 1988. He has seen his share of heartache when it wasn’t necessary. If you take into considering these 7 steps when considering a divorce, you will indeed save yourself frustration and be able to concentrate on the dissolution of marriage. Feel free to contact Attorney Cheshire for a consultation on how to best proceed with your divorce.