Divorce can be an emotional and difficult process for everyone involved. Arguments over property, custody of children and financial issues can make the process even more intense. But as hard as divorce can be, people often make mistakes that complicate the process even further. In the long run, these mistakes only cause more stress and increase the overall costs of divorce.
Organizing the Financial Picture
Couples, especially those who have been married a long time before divorcing, have many joint or commingled assets. Usually, the length of the marriage directly correlates to the complexity of the financial picture. It can take a significant amount of time to determine what is marital property and what, if any, property is separate. In these cases, it is crucial to be prepared and organized. Being disorganized, especially when it comes to financial issues, is one of the most costly errors a person can make in a divorce.
Focusing Only on Litigation
Another common mistake is trying to get everything you want. Divorcing couples should try to be selective; prioritizing their needs and trying to come to some preliminary agreements before litigating over every piece of property. When the courtroom becomes the front line for every fight, costs and stress can quickly add up.
It is also important, notes a USA Today article, that recently divorced couples examine their wills and beneficiary designations on life insurance and other policies and accounts. Many couples wait and ultimately forget to change who should receive the benefits of those documents, often leaving a former spouse as the primary beneficiary instead of children or a new husband or wife.
Trying to Separate Without a Lawyer
Perhaps the biggest divorce mistake is trying to go through the process without legal counsel. An experienced family law attorney can actually save the client money by using expertise to avoid mistakes that cause a person more time, money and stress in the future. You can save on attorney fees by being well-organized and prioritizing your interests — don't risk making an irreversible mistake by trying to save a buck.
The focus of a divorce should be a fair split, which might not necessarily mean an even split of property. If you are considering divorce, it is important to discuss your case with an experienced family law attorney in your area.