41% of first marriages end in divorce. While it’s not an ideal situation for anyone to be in, filing for divorce is an opportunity to start fresh and rebuild your life. When you file for divorce, there are so many factors you need to consider. Did you sign a prenup agreement, or do you have children involved?
What about your finances, property, and other factors? From custody to dividing up debt, there’s so much to think about. Of course, the first step is to hire a lawyer. A good divorce lawyer will help you escape most pitfalls. But a divorce attorney isn’t a substitute for common sense.
And sometimes, the ins and outs of a divorce case aren’t readily apparent unless you’ve done this before. If you’re still not sure what’s taboo and what isn’t, at Charlotte Christian Law, we’ve assembled a guide of 5 things not to do when you’re filing for divorce.
1. Don’t Get Emotional
Filing for divorce is an incredibly difficult situation to be in. But prioritizing emotions over reality is a surefire way to end up at a disadvantage in a divorce. For instance, many people are emotionally attached to their homes. They don’t want to be the one who has to move out. There are a lot of memories in your home.
A divorce is a time of massive upheaval, which means people tend to cling to the familiar things they can hold onto. However, it’s unrealistic to stay in a place due to emotional attachment alone. Can you afford the mortgage? How is custody divided? The parent who is with the kids the most should likely get the house.
When you file for divorce, it’s also important to conduct a financial assessment. Can you afford the mortgage? Even if you can, you might be better served to take other assets that would suit you and your family better in the future. Divorce is also a Wild West for people who don’t like negotiating.
Many people hate conflict, which turns out to be a huge disadvantage for negotiations in a divorce. Compounding this issue is the taboo nature of talking about money. Subconsciously, you might self-sabotage your own interests. Why? If the divorce is ‘your fault’, due to infidelity or similar actions, you may feel guilty and want to give your spouse more than what is fair.
Or, you simply might feel overwhelmed. A divorce is a lot to comprehend, and you may be tempted to sit back during the proceedings and let the chips fall. This is a big mistake, and it’s important to step up to the plate and advocate for you and your children. If you struggle with advocating for yourself in a divorce case, your divorce attorney should be able to help.
2. Advocate for Your Children
Depending on how brutal the divorce has been, or how ugly circumstances were pre-divorce, it’s crucial to assess the situation. Outside of their failings as a spouse, can your partner serve as a competent parent to your children?
In some cases, the answer is no. In most cases, divorced parents can take care of their children and raise them with love and care. However, if your marriage goes south, resist the urge to take your children and move.
In every state, there are laws against one parent packing up and taking the children without the knowledge or consent of the other parent. It could also hurt your case when it’s time for a judge to decide on custody.
During the divorce proceedings, you should also resist any base urges to use your children as a bargaining chip. Emotionally manipulating your children will not harm your spouse. Instead, it will harm your children moving forward. It will also ruin your custody chances since judges tend to frown upon using children like chess pieces in a divorce game.
3. Avoid Social Media
For some people, being able to post online is a form of therapy. It’s a chance to air their grievances, connect with family and friends, and share fun photos. You should always be careful with what you choose to post on social media. But in the morass of a divorce, you should stop posting at all. Even the most innocent posts can be misconstrued.
For instance, you might snap a cute shot of your kid dangling from the monkey bars at her favorite playground. A cute moment can be transformed into evidence of your lack of responsibility and negligence in the hands of the right lawyer.
This may sound rather paranoid. However, too many screenshots, emails, texts, and social media posts have resurfaced during ugly divorce proceedings to take a chance.
4. Be Reasonable
If this is a difficult divorce, it might be tempting to take your spouse for all that you can get. However, a divorce lawyer notes that when you file for divorce, being unreasonable will only stretch things out longer.
This prolongs the agony for you, your children, and your pocketbook. It also may make a judge look unfavorably on you, as the difficult diva of the relationship. It’s important to stick up for yourself and demand fairness. But it’s crucial to make sure that your demands aren’t insufferable, too.
5. Don’t Pile on Debt
In the tenuous time when a divorce is still in its infancy, some people take the opportunity to go buy expensive things they’ve always wanted. Whether it’s racking up a credit card bill or buying a new Maserati, they go wild. That’s because some people assume that debt will be divided evenly in divorce. In most situations, that’s not the case.
Filing For Divorce
We know how challenging filing for divorce can be. After all, it’s the lowest point in many people’s lives. However, we’re excited to help you embark on a new season of your life, with a settlement that’s fair for you, your spouse, and your children.