Making the decision to file for divorce is undoubtedly difficult. The most common reasons for divorce are a combination of lack of healthy communication, infidelity, finances, emotional or physical abuse, and loss of interest in the marriage.
Though the circumstances of each divorce may vary, the pain and emotional response remain the same. These emotions may range from confusion, fear, a sense of loss, anger and guilt. Be assured that all of these feelings are common when experiencing a divorce.
Once regarded as impossible and even shameful, divorce filings are becoming increasing commonplace. According to a recent study, young couples marrying for the first time have a lifetime divorce risk of 40%. Additionally, it’s estimated that more than half — 60% — of second marriages end in divorce.
It is easy to let your emotions get the best of you during this time; however, this can hinder your thought process. It is important to rely on family, friends, and your legal team, such as your divorce lawyer or family law attorney, in order to develop a plan of action.
Here are three common mistakes people make when filing for divorce, and how to avoid them.
1. Not having a thorough understanding of the family’s finances
Often times, a spouse will accumulate a substantial amount of debt without the other spouse knowing. Or, on the other hand, they may amass additional financial assets without informing the other. Regardless, having limited knowledge of the family’s finances can hinder the divorce process. Divorce attorneys encourage spouses to spend time reviewing their family’s finances before continuing with the filing process. Review bank and credit card statements, credit reports and other important financial documents in order to gain a better understanding.
2. Failing to retain a lawyer
This is where becoming overcome by emotions may come into play, and spouses may feel pressured or rushed to settle without first consulting with divorce attorneys or child custody attorneys if children are involved. A spouse who aims to control the whole process may pressure the other to settle outside of court, and may even make the other feel guilty for wanting to consult with a divorce or child support lawyer. Be wary of this, as you may be settling for far less than you deserve and are entitled to. While it may okay to discuss issues such as pick up times for the children involved, encourage your spouse to discuss financial details with your attorney.
3. Confusing justice with the law
What feels “right” may not be what you or your spouse are legally bound or entitled to. For example, many spouses feel they are entitled to keep their house, in addition to receiving half of their spouse’s salary and benefits. Depending on the nature and individual circumstances of your filing, this may not be the case. Additionally, many feel as though there should be a financial penalty for infidelity; however, in the majority of states, adultery has little to no impact on the allocation of assets.
Remember, support is available. Do not let you, or your spouse’s emotional response prevent you from pushing for a fair settlement. Divorce attorneys, family, and friends can uplift you during this time, and help you navigate this process.