Divorce is hard, don’t make it harder on yourself by falling into these common traps. To err is human, but so is the ability to learn from those errors. Here are the top mistakes I see again and again, and how to avoid them.
1. Making decisions based on your emotions
Acting out of anger, revenge, or guilt is the biggest mistake I see clients and their soon to be ex’s make during their cases. This is where having a divorce coach, divorce support group, and/or a trained therapist becomes so important. If your divorce involves infidelity or any level of betrayal, this is especially important. Using the divorce process as an instrument to “get even” or punish is the quickest way to rack up high attorney’s fees and lose credibility with the court. Similarly, giving in to everything out of a sense of guilt – will come back to haunt you later. Get the appropriate emotional support you need so that you can treat your divorce as you would a business deal.
2. Not obtaining quality legal advice
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard someone say, “my sister got this in her divorce”, or “my buddy told me…” Every case is different and each has its own unique set of facts and circumstances. Divorce cases are like a puzzle and how your case will ultimately come together depends upon how those unique factors will be applied to the law. Even the most simple divorce will hit snags and gray areas. Competent legal advice from an experienced attorney is the best way to make sure you don’t end up making costly errors. Even if you do prefer to go it alone, educate yourself. Avail yourself of free consultations, attend divorce workshops, and be sure to speak to multiple attorneys, not just one. When you find an attorney you like, be sure to read their reviews online and make sure they are in good standing with the Florida Bar.
3. Being attached to keeping the house, even when you can’t afford it
Humans hate change, and with a pending divorce so much of your life is up in the air, that the prospect of having to move can be daunting to say the least. I see clients insist on staying in the home, even when they can’t afford it, and then the house becomes a huge bone of contention during settlement negotiations when really it doesn’t need to be. Consider the memories and history that are tied to your home, and what it might feel like to move into a new space that is all your own. One that you can decorate just as you like and create a new memories for yourself and your children. Seek the help of a financial planner who can run a budget analysis for you, so you can weigh the pros and cons of keeping the home. My advice – let it go. Especially in today’s market – most of my clients are able to sell their houses and walk away with a good amount of cash to put towards a new place.
4. Airing it all on Social Media
This might be my #1 pet-peeve as a divorce attorney. In fact, I have a NO SOCIAL MEDIA clause in my contract, advising my clients that it will be grounds for withdrawal if they discuss their divorce online. Why? Anything you put on social media can be used as evidence against you. If you have an alimony claim, but keep posting your lavish vacations or new designer bag on Instagram, it certainly won’t help your case. If you have children, but are blasting your ex and his new girlfriend on social media, that will not create an image of a parent willing to foster a positive relationship with their child’s other parent- which is a major factor the court considers in custody determinations. In short, it just isn’t good form. DON’T DO IT.
Avoid these common mistakes and you will be steps ahead of the others as you move through the process. Need expert advice? Contact the office today for a free 30 minute consultation. 813.322.2082. I am here to help!