Mistake #1: Missing deadlines.
In the state of California, the law requires that you follow certain procedures and adhere to specific deadlines. Missing these deadlines can have a seriously detrimental effect on your case. A qualified, experienced family law attorney will ensure that all paperwork is properly filled out and deadlines are met, increasing the odds that you meet your goals.
Mistake #2: Withholding information.
During the discovery process, you’ll be expected to hand over information to your attorney and to the opposing attorney that will help them prove their cases, such as tax information and financial statements. You will pay your attorney for the time he or she spends requesting, collecting, and reviewing the information. Fighting discovery requests take time, add to your costs, and rarely result in a positive outcome. Help yourself by cooperating, collecting the necessary information, and sharing it.
Mistake #3: Rushing through the process.
Divorce is an unpleasant process, and we all want to get through disagreeable situations as quickly as possible, right? This may be one situation where ripping the band-aid off quickly causes more long-term pain than relief. Making quick decisions born out of stress may not be in your best financial or emotional interests, and can prolong the effects of the divorce for a long period of time. Think before you make decisions, and always get advice.
Mistake #4: Not understanding how financial issues impact each other.
You must discuss and understand how taxes, capital gains, investment losses, assets, and inflation will be affected by your divorce. It’s only after you have an understanding of all of these things that you can make decisions regarding them. Once your attorney reviews your finances as a whole, he or she can come up with a overall plan that will result in a fair settlement.
Mistake #5: Using the kids to get back at your ex.
When it comes to custody arrangements, the best interests of the child should be considered, period. Don’t ever fight for custody arrangements that are developed for the sole purpose of hurting the other parent. These are time-consuming, expensive, and put your children through the wringer.
Mistake #6: Letting other people tell you what to do.
You’ll find there’s no shortage of unsolicited, albeit well intentioned, advice for those in the midst of a divorce. Don’t take advice without talking to your attorney first. The advice may not be accurate, or may not be applicable to your situation.
Mistake #7: Letting emotions control you.
Divorce is one of the most emotionally difficult times in a married person’s life. Accept that doubt and regret are natural, and are bound to surface during the process even if you know that divorce is the best option. It’s okay to make compromises, but don’t let your feelings cause you to agree to unreasonable requests in an effort to appease your spouse, retain his or her friendship, or upgrade your status from the “bad guy.” You goal should not be to remain friends right now. If you want to work on that later, once you’re through the process, that’s fine.
Mistake #8: Not getting the help you need.
If you make a mistake bricking your patio, no biggie. But make the wrong mistake during divorce, and it can have long-term, serious consequences. Some people want a quick divorce, and think they can save time and/or money by doing it themselves. In my experience, even “friendly” divorces are somewhat complicated. If you want to minimize emotional and financial issues during the divorce process, don’t be a Do-It-Yourselfer.