Divorce is one of the most difficult things to go through in life. If you have children, it is particularly difficult because getting divorced means splintering your family unit. The danger here is that the emotional upheaval of divorce can be so intense that it seeps into your decision-making abilities. When you allow emotions to drive the bus, you can make big divorce mistakes that negatively impact your entire future.
There are minor, moderately significant, and big divorce mistakes people can make. Today, we will briefly touch on the smaller mistakes and then move on to the mistakes that can really wreak havoc with the rest of your life.
Before diving into the big divorce mistakes, let’s look at some less overarching mistakes that can cost you. These include:
- Staying active on social media—Angry posts and even innocent posts can hurt you, so stay off social media while your divorce is pending. After claiming you cannot afford alimony or child support, you will be mortified if your ex’s lawyer hands the judge a bunch of posts bragging about your week-long Alaskan cruise.
- Failing to accurately estimate your future expenses—If you fail to go through your future finances, including tax repercussions, with a fine-toothed comb, you may accept a settlement that leaves you out in the cold for years to come.
- Disparaging your ex in front of the kids—This will only hurt you and your kids, so just don’t do it.
- Failing to change your will—If you don’t want your ex to inherit, change your will now before you forget.
- Waiting for the “right time”—There is never a convenient time to divorce. So don’t wait for the holidays to be over or for any other event before initiating your divorce.
These are just some of the common divorce mistakes that you should avoid. But as serious as these mistakes can be, they do not make it into our top three.
The Top Three Big Divorce Mistakes
Our top three list has come after decades of practicing family legal issues. Our seasoned family legal matters attorneys have seen it all. We know which attitudes and actions will help our clients get what they want out of their divorce. And we know which actions and attitudes threaten to harm them for years after the divorce is final. So before diving into the emotional world of divorce, please take some time to really chew on and fully digest the following warnings.
Not Hiring an Attorney, or Hiring the Wrong Attorney
This point really cannot be overstated. Trying to go get divorced without an attorney can be one of the worst decisions you make. But you can also make the mistake of hiring the wrong attorney. The simple fact is that having the right lawyer on your side can make all the difference in the world in how your divorce resolves.
When choosing a lawyer, you must strike a delicate balance. You need someone with extensive experience in family law, not someone who does “a little family law” on the side. And what about the cost? If you hire a legal practitioner solely on how much they charge, you can end up with a real lemon. Perhaps the attorney is a solo practitioner who is desperate for business, so they promise to deliver you the moon very cheaply. This is likely not the person you want representing you. If an attorney charges the lowest fees in your area, the chances are pretty good that they do not have the time or the support staff to give your case the attention it needs.
Conversely, just because a law firm charges the highest fees in the area does not mean that they work hard for their clients. In some of the most expensive firms, you are just a number. So choose your law firm wisely.
Listening to Your Friends and Family Instead of Your Lawyer
While going through a divorce, you will probably need a shoulder to cry on. Getting support from friends and family can help. But if you start listening to stories of how your sister’s neighbor got 20 years of alimony at $15,000 a month, you could be headed for trouble.
The fact is that every single divorce is different—as different as your fingerprints. The specific facts of each case interact with Tennessee law differently than all other cases. Non-lawyers and lawyers who don’t regularly practice family law will not know the legal realities of your case. They have no idea that what they are telling you is not legally possible or probable.
We know they only want what is best for you. But telling you mythical stories and setting you up for impossibly big expectations is not in your best interest. Instead, save yourself the headache. Let your friends and family emotionally support you and leave the legal advice to your lawyer.
Vengeance Over Reason
When you have been hurt and are in the heat of the battle, the desire for revenge can grow into a monster. But the revenge monster can cost you greatly now and for years into the future. You need to always keep the big picture in front of you to avoid getting lost in your emotions and the need to hurt your ex.
In the worst cases, people can be so blinded by revenge that they pass up all reasonable settlement offers. Their need to hurt their ex “the way they hurt me” can slowly come to control every decision. Those people are the ones who end up paying their lawyer $50,000 to keep from having to pay their ex $20,000 in alimony. And when you dig your heels in this deep, you alienate your ex, the judge, and very likely your children. So if you end up keeping the house or not paying alimony but your children won’t speak to you—what have you really won?
Keep the big picture in mind. You don’t need revenge. You simply need to take care of your needs and move on to the next phase of your life.
We Can Help
The experienced divorce attorneys at Batson Nolan PLC understand that divorce is never fun. But we have decades of experience helping people overcome the obstacles that divorce throws in their path. We are caring and compassionate counselors who strive to coach you and guide you through the divorce process by helping you keep your eye on what is most important to you. We pride ourselves on personal, compassionate service where we maintain honest and open lines of communication with our clients. So call us today or contact us online to set up your initial consultation in our Clarksville or Springfield office.