Getting a divorce is a complicated and often difficult process. You might feel overwhelmed with emotions as you figure out what to do next. You also might feel as if your world might is crashing down all around you.
This a critical time for you. The outcome of your divorce has an impact on your emotional and financial well-being in both the short-term and the long-term. This is why it’s so important to have a trusted advisor on your side.
Here are some of the most common mistakes people make throughout the divorce process, and how a competent and experienced attorney can help you avoid them:
Don’t Listen to Others
Divorce is a personal, emotional time in your life. You’ll need your friends and family as a support system, but you should be wary of taking legal advice from them. Each divorce is unique, and what works for you and your spouse might not work for everybody else. The number of children you have, their ages, your particular assets, and many other unique aspects will all have a direct impact on how is best for you to proceed.
Your lawyer is the only one you should be taking legal advice from. He or she will be familiar with your particular set of circumstances and will be able to advise you accordingly.
Don’t Be Short-Sighted
It’s natural for you to want to conclude the divorce process quickly to get on with your life. But you want to make sure that your immediate future is secure, and that you’re able to live comfortably while you recover.
You don’t want to be short-sighted in your strategy. By settling on a quick deal now that brings emotional stability back into your life may actually jeopardize future financial stability. Giving up future assets for current ones might leave you with no nest egg. You also might need to decide between a lump sum payment today or monthly payments that start at retirement. Every decision you make now will have an impact on your future, so you need to get it right.
Also, what you might not realize is that rushing the divorce process now will only increase the chances of you ending up in court after your divorce is finalized to litigate issues that could have been resolved properly during the divorce process. The financial and emotional cost of post-divorce litigation will often be much greater than during the divorce process.
An experienced divorce lawyer will help you identify and value your assets, determine your immediate needs, and those for the future, and will use this as the basis for negotiations with your spouse.
Don’t Overlook the Minutia
Divorce can be a complicated, messy process. There are many issues to address, and your first instinct may be to get it all over with in a hurry. It’s easy to miss something important. But an experienced lawyer will make sure that every aspect has been addressed.
Some areas that you may not have thought of include:
—Taxes. Since savings and retirement accounts are going to be split, everything needs to be handled the proper way in order to avoid tax implications.
—Assets beyond real estate and savings and checking accounts. These include retirement accounts, automobiles, country club memberships, life insurance policies, etc.
—Debt. Debt will also need to be divided. Therefore, you’ll need to identify and value debts such as credit card balances, student loans, and medical bills.
Don’t Let Emotions Cloud Your Judgment
Going through a divorce can be a very emotional time, and it affects everyone differently. You may experience anger, despair, confusion, and frustration in a very short period of time. This is to be completely expected. The problem is that it’s very easy to start letting these emotions drive your decisions.
That’s why it’s so important to have a trusted lawyer at your side, thinking of all of the details and guiding you throughout the process. Your lawyer will make sure that the decisions you make are made for the right reasons, and that your emotions aren’t driving your short-term choices, having an irreversible effect on your long-term future.