By Sherri Donovan
Reprinted with author’s permission
Divorce is a complex process, propelling those involved into a situation where they must face legal, financial and psychological challenges simultaneously, all while managing everyday work and parenting demands. These common mistakes, based on my years of experience as a matrimonial lawyer, can be the most damaging to your case. Avoiding them can help ensure a good outcome while helping you on your way to healing with fewer regrets.
- Signing a legal agreement without understanding it completely, discussing it with a trusted friend, getting professional legal counsel, and carefully thinking it through.
- Letting emotions—guilt, loneliness, embarrassment and fear affect your decisions.
- Not asking for or allowing help from professionals and trusted family members and friends.
- Confiding too much and to the wrong people.
- Not knowing about or not including all assets and all debts of the marital partnership.
- Moving out of your family home or leaving your children in your spouse’s custody temporarily when your objective is to remain in the family home or to be the custodial parent.
- Continuing divorce negotiations or mediation when it is no longer productive or financially or emotionally worthwhile to do so.
- Initiating a divorce but then reconciling or living separate for a while and leaving your divorce action dangling.
- Not clearly and completely defining all of the reasons that led you to divorce and withholding crucial information about your spouse’s misconduct to avoid his/her wrath, embarrassment, or despair.
- Assuming that your settlement must conform to the terms a judge would order if your case went to trial or to a prescribed formula that does not consider the unique factors in your case.
- Settling for less child support than you need and to which you are entitled.
- Believing what’s theirs isn’t yours and not recognizing that marriage is an economic partnership.
- Failing to ensure continued child and/or spousal support with life and disability insurance.
- Disregarding court orders.
- Utilizing delay tactics by switching lawyers more than two times.
- Sleeping with your attorney—or with any person involved in your case, such as your marriage counselor, financial advisor, real estate appraiser, etc.
- Failing to move on and start your new life.
Sherri Donovan ESQ