- by Mary Stearns-Montgomery
- in Divorce
Divorce is, by nature, complicated. You’ve spent years building your marriage and entangling your life with the person you’re sitting across the table from. Untangling your assets (and your emotions) takes time too. A family law attorney spends years studying the intricacies of divorce, which is why divorce is overwhelming to most people.
There are a few common mistakes people tend to make when heading into a divorce. If you can keep your head clear enough to follow these rules, you’ll be much better off in the long run.
Don't take legal advice from your friends: Your friends are important, but don't rely on them for legal advice. Every state has a unique set of divorce laws, and a family law attorney can tell you what's in your best interest. Your friends might want to give you legal advice out of love or because they think you need help, but every divorce is different, and your divorce attorney understands the law.
Don't run to court: Make an informed decision with a family law attorney about whether or not you even want to go to trial. If you and your ex are still on speaking terms, or if you have children, you may want to consider collaborative divorce. It can be less expensive than traditional divorce, and both parties still have the benefit of legal council. Read more about collaborative divorce here.
Let your kids be kids: Don't make your children the go-between for you and your ex, and don't unload on them about the other parent. If you need to talk to someone, talk to a divorce therapist or counselor. As a parent, it's your responsibility to protect your children's feelings. Don't make your kids suffer through your problems.
Be financially prepared: Do your research, find out what your assets are, where your debt is, and gather documents early in the divorce process. Your divorce attorney will have a much easier time if they understand your financial situation up front.
Stay in control of your grief: You may need to grieve, but try not to let your grief control you. Try to keep divorce in perspective-- the legal aspects should be treated like business decisions. The difficult emotional aspects need to be addressed, but while you're trying to sort out financials.
Remember that this won't last forever: Divorce can seem never ending, exhausting, stressful, and consuming. The process won't last forever, and your stress levels won't last forever either. Take it one day at a time, be kind to yourself, and try to stay positive and focused.