Few things in life affect your finances, family relationships, and mental health as much as going through a divorce. When your divorce is finalized, you want to know you have reached the best possible outcome and that you have made well-founded decisions with your future in mind. Avoiding missteps can help you reduce acrimony, protect your rights, and consider your children’s best interests.
After helping people navigate separation and divorce issues in Texas for more than 50 years, the team at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., knows the types of mistakes that can damage your case during a divorce. Learn more about the most common mistakes people make when getting divorced and how to avoid them.
Mistake #1: Failing to gather financial documents
Having detailed records of your and your spouse’s income and assets is essential if you want to keep your fair share of your marital property after divorce. Having records of your assets and debts also is important if you and your spouse disagree over how to divide your shared property. It is a good idea to make copies of tax records, pay stubs, bank account statements, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts, property deeds, and other documents before filing for divorce. That way, you will have the documents available if your spouse tries to hide any assets.
Mistake #2: Not hiring an experienced divorce lawyer
Divorce involves many decisions. You need the guidance of an experienced divorce lawyer who can help you make forward-looking decisions. Even if you do not have children or own a home, there are still critical issues to consider, such as how to divide shared assets and debts and whether one spouse will pay alimony. Relying on an inexperienced divorce attorney could leave you with too little income and unanticipated tax consequences after the divorce.
Mistake #3: Not considering the long-term financial impact of a settlement
It is understandable to want a divorce to be over as quickly as possible. But the terms of a divorce settlement can affect the rest of your life. Child support, alimony, and how you and your spouse divide shared assets can significantly affect your finances and your future. Knowing how a divorce settlement impacts your financial future is essential. A knowledgeable family law attorney can help you think through the consequences of these decisions.
Mistake #4: Not seeking mediation or alternative dispute resolution
A prolonged court battle can substantially increase the cost of a divorce. The best way to minimize the cost of a divorce is to use mediation or other alternative dispute resolution processes to resolve disagreements with your spouse about issues in the divorce. Having a mediator help you and your spouse resolve disputed issues is less expensive than going to court and having the judge decide the issues.
Mistake #5: Not protecting your assets
You might be tempted to relent and give your spouse more assets in a divorce to end the process. As tempting as this may be, failing to protect your assets is a significant mistake. Not getting your fair share of your marital assets may hurt you financially for years to come. A skilled Austin divorce attorney can protect your rights to a reasonable portion of your shared property as part of a divorce settlement.
Mistake #6: Not communicating effectively with your ex-partner
No matter how angry you are with your spouse, it doesn’t benefit you to act upon your feelings. Blowing up in court or sending angry text messages will reflect negatively on you and could impact your divorce settlement. When your emotions are running high, you need a seasoned divorce attorney to communicate effectively on your behalf and offer guidance and understanding.
Mistake #7: Not considering the emotional impact of a settlement
Getting a divorce is not just a financial decision. It also has a profound emotional effect. The anger or sadness you feel during the process might make you want to lash out. But you should try to resist this impulse. Similarly, be prepared for strong emotions once your divorce ends. Consider some sessions with a counselor or mental health professional to discuss the emotions you are experiencing.
Mistake #8: Not taking care of yourself
It could be more than a year before your divorce is finalized. Once the process ends, you want to be able to move on to the next chapter of your life. Some people going through divorce develop unhealthy habits such as binge eating or starving themselves. Eating well and getting regular exercise can help you maintain your energy during the process. Counseling can help you work through emotional issues and maintain a positive focus.
Mistake #9: Not seeking support
Feeling sad, angry, or frustrated during a divorce is normal. You are losing a partner you have likely spent a portion of your life with. You might not be spending as much time with your children as you would like. If you are struggling emotionally during a divorce, reach out to trusted friends and family members. They can provide emotional support and help you find professional help if necessary. Many people going through a divorce find it helpful to meet with support groups.
Mistake #10: Not being prepared for the divorce process
Some people think divorce is a quick process, but this is rarely true. Even if two spouses agree on most issues in a divorce, they still need to make important decisions that will affect them for years. It is important to have knowledgeable guidance from an attorney who has handled the issues you are confronting. Before you file for divorce, speak to an attorney to ensure you understand the process and what to expect.
Talk to a Compassionate Divorce Lawyer in Austin, TX
Many mistakes that can adversely affect you during the divorce process are avoidable if you have a knowledgeable and compassionate family law attorney leading you through the process. The attorneys at Minton, Bassett, Flores & Carsey, P.C., are here to guide you during this difficult time. Call us in Austin today at (512) 476-4873 or visit our contact page for a confidential consultation.