In an effort to transition through your divorce relatively unscathed — both financially and emotionally – you will need to take an active role in attempting to keep things civil. In other words, you have a role to play in maintaining the civility in your divorce.
Long gone are the days when divorce was all about assigning fault and sorting out who’s the winner and who’s the loser. The goal for divorce today is fairness and equitable treatment for both parties — and if children are involved, keeping their interests paramount.
One of the best ways to avoid making the biggest mistakes in your divorce is to recognize behavior that will lead you down the wrong path. Here are three of the worst divorce mistakes you can make:
#1: Not hiring the right divorce attorney.
Of course you should receive recommendations from friends and family members regarding attorneys, but keep in mind that just because your friend liked his or her divorce lawyer doesn’t mean that person is the right attorney for you. Just like no two divorces are the same, no two divorce attorneys are the same. Some are collaborators and some are litigators. Some specialize in child custody and some specialize in high net worth divorces. Some will respect a budget and some won’t. So when looking for a divorce lawyer, first do your research based on what you need. Then schedule consultations to narrow the field further by asking your candidates how they practice, their fee structure, etc.
#2: Making a preemptive strike.
Unless you are 100% certain that you are going to have to litigate your divorce case, don’t automatically assume the worst. How you begin your divorce case will determine the course it will take. If you are overly aggressive or deceptive, this can escalate things quickly and lead to more time and money spent unnecessarily. Instead, let your spouse know that you are willing to be reasonable. When possible, starting your divorce with the right tone of civility and mutual understanding will assist you in concluding your divorce case with more ease, less time, and less money.
#3: Focusing only on what you think is “fair.”
There is a reason that the courts use the term “equitable” instead of fair — fair is subjective, and what one party feels is fair, the other usually disagrees. Fighting for something you think is “fair” can cost you more in the long run — for example, it would not be worth spending $10,000 to wage battle over a $5,000 piece of art. If you have chosen the right attorney, he or she can help you keep your perspective about what is worth fighting for and what is not.
Your legal team at Koenig|Dunne understands the nuances and complexities of divorce, and we are here to help guide you through the process.