Divorce is a complicated and emotional time. You often make mistakes during your divorce that you pay for in the future.
Here is a list of the 9 things you should never do during a divorce:
1. Don’t forget to consult an attorney.
A lawyer can make sure that you both review and understand anything before you sign or agree. An experienced family law attorney is often a good idea for situations where the divorcing couple has a large amount of assets, property or other complicated financial matters. In more contentious divorces, an attorney can make sure that your interests are represented in court. Even in a “friendly” divorce you are often better off hiring a lawyer to help file paperwork and guide you through the court system.
2. Don’t neglect your finances.
If you’re thinking about divorce, you need to immediately begin to set aside money for the all the expenses involved. Make copies of all your financial documents and legal records before your divorce proceedings begin. These documents should include bank and investment statements, wills, trusts, tax returns, property deeds, insurance policies and vehicle titles to name a few. Keep these copies in a secure location not accessible by your ex.
3. Don’t immediately tell everyone you are getting a divorce.
Emotions are running high, it’s perfectly normal to want to let others know what’s going on in your life. You may desperately want support, you may not want to suffer in silence, or you may just want to punish your partner and embarrass them. This doesn’t mean that you have to keep your a divorce secret from everyone, you just need to decide who you tell and why.
4. Don’t use your children as pawns.
This should go without saying, but unfortunately, it still happens, even unintentionally. Check your own behavior and don’t use your kids to punish or manipulate your spouse. In the end, this will cause resentment and have a negative impact on the relationship you have with your children.
5. Don’t take divorce advice from family and friends.
It’s only natural that those close to you want to provide support during this time. Everyone wants to share their experiences, offer opinions and give advice. Your family and friends may have good intentions, but their divorce experience is based on the facts and circumstances that are unique to them and may not apply in your situation. Let these friends and relatives be there for you emotionally, but if they offer financial or legal advice about your divorce, politely say “No thank you.” Your future is too important.
6. Don’t do anything you’ll regret later.
While it is normal for you to feel conflicting emotions making the end of your relationship into a bad reality show is never a good idea. Act like everything you say, do, post, tweet, text or snap will immediately be posted on YouTube. Don’t take your negative emotions feelings out on your children, pets, or personal property. Don’t self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Don’t rant or fight with your ex on social media. At best, these things could be used against you during the divorce proceedings, at worst you could land on the wrong side of the law or lose visitation rights.
7. Don’t jump into another relationship.
This is not the time to start a new romantic relationship. If you already have, consider putting it on hold. Even if you and your spouse no longer live together, in some states a relationship outside of marriage can become an issue during the divorce process. With all of the changes going on in your life, avoiding any type of romantic relationship is often the best thing to do for your emotionally.
8. Don’t focus so much on the little things that you forget what’s important.
In a contested divorce, you are likely to accumulate thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees because your lawyer must spend an enormous amount of time preparing the case and filing paperwork. You may be angry but remember the more you and your spouse argue over issues or items, the more you pay in attorney’s fees. Concentrate on what really matters, and focus on that. Leaving a decision up to a third party often means you end up not getting what you really want, and with a gigantic legal bill to boot.
9. Don’t put your friends in the middle.
Having a couple close to them end their marriage can bring up mixed emotions in your friends as well. They will often feel awkward and uncomfortable around you or your ex. Let them know that this is okay, and that you understand. It’s not fair to demand that your friends take sides. It’s up to your friends–not you–whether or not they will continue to stay friendly with your ex. Respect the choices that they make, even if you don’t agree with them.