3 Things That Could Keep You From Getting What You Want During a Divorce

If you are thinking about divorce or have already started the process, it can feel as though you are about to enter a scary and foreign world in which a judge dictates how much alimony or child support you will pay or receive or when you will spend time with your children.

This does not have to be the case.  Believe it or not, you have more control than you might think about how your particular divorce will unfold and the results that will ultimately be achieved.

Below are 3 things, however, that can get in the way of your divorce going smoothly and could prevent you from achieving an outcome that meets your goals for the future:

Mistake #1:  Your primary objective is to “get back at” your spouse.

While it can be tempting to show your spouse that he or she is “wrong”, getting a divorce is not at all like playing a baseball game where there is a an actual “winner.”  Instead, when you and your spouse give up control over your outcome to a judge, both of you lose the ability to choose how you want your case resolved.

Not to mention when you make it your goal to “hurt” or “get back at” your spouse, it can be very costly, both financially and emotionally.  Legal fees are typically much higher and you can lose self- respect and close relationships with your children.  Most importantly, there be lasting devastating emotional effects on your children.

Instead, you might allow yourself to feel anger and hurt before you enter the divorce process by seeking out a competent and trusted counselor or coach to help you work through your difficult emotions and establish priorities.  Remember, when you have children together, you remain connected to your spouse through your children.

Mistake #2:  You hire a lawyer who encourages you to “fight” with your  spouse.

It might make you feel emotionally supported when your lawyer validates your anger towards your spouse while encouraging you to aggressively “fight” for what you “deserve”.  He or she will invariably start talking about filing motions and engaging in a lengthy discovery process (exchange of large volumes of financial information), which will more than likely only serve to fuel your anger – while emptying your wallet.

When you have a skilled and knowledgeable lawyer who practices exclusively in divorce and family matters and has a settlement oriented approach, your divorce has a far better chance of going smoothly while saving you from costly and often unnecessary fees.

Mistake #3:  You do not make the time and effort to educate yourself about how to plan your finances to meet your goals for the future.

When you are not familiar with your marital  income, assets, and debt, you leave it to your attorney or a judge – who often will not have training in financial or accounting matters – to calculate alimony, child support and division of assets and debt in a manner that might not meet your current needs or your goals for the future.

Therefore, it is important that you gather such items as current statements for bank accounts and retirement accounts, stocks and brokerage accounts, deeds and mortgage documents, car insurance and loan documents, paystubs, bonus and commission statements, federal and state income tax returns, credit card statements and loan documentation, medical insurance and life insurance documentation, business records and ledgers.  You should also create an estimate of current monthly expenses as well as anticipated expenses after the divorce.  Then, consult with a reputable financial advisor to help you determine how to best meet your current needs as well as those going forward.  This will significantly help you and your lawyer to calculate such needs or obligations as alimony and child support in a way that makes sense for you.

Remember to deal with your understandable negative emotions head on preferably with a competent and trusted mental health professional.  While admittedly challenging, refuse to allow these emotions to derail you from using your best judgment during your divorce.

 

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