Divorce is a complicated process both emotionally and logistically. With so much on your plate, there are plenty of opportunities to make mistakes. Our team at Baxter Harder, LLC has put together a list of some of the most common mistakes that people make during their divorce, so you can avoid repeating them.
Mistake 1: Letting Emotions Fuel Decision-Making
When marriages end due to infidelity, extreme conflict, or other sensitive reasons, it’s common that feelings of bitterness and resentment can cloud judgment during divorce proceedings. This can lead to decisions being made based on anger or revenge, rather than focusing on the big picture of what will work best for your family.
Here are some tips to ensure you make decisions with a clear mind:
- Stop and think: Don’t rush into decisions. If you are feeling highly emotional, wait until you are feeling more even-tempered to make any big decisions, propositions, or final agreements.
- Write: Putting your thoughts in writing can help you figure out what you really want and need. This will also force you to slow down and consider your options.
- Ask for outside input: It may be helpful to get opinions from people who are less directly involved in the situation. This could be family, friends, or your attorney.
Mistake 2: Talking Poorly About Your Ex in Front of the Kids
If you and your ex aren’t on good terms, it can be hard to keep a poker face. However, it’s extremely important that you maintain civility in front of your children. First, for their own well-being. Divorce is difficult, especially for younger children who cannot fully grasp what is happening. As they also navigate the way their lives are changing, you don’t want to add the stress of hearing their parents talk poorly about each other. They may internalize these feelings, leading them to feel guilty and/or resentful toward one or both parents.
Additionally, talking poorly about your ex could hurt your custody case. Kids can be like parrots, repeating what they hear. If the courts hear that you are badmouthing your ex and potentially harming your child’s relationship with their parent, they will be less likely to award you the custody outcome you’d like.
Mistake 3: Hiding Assets
Asset division is a daunting process for many couples going through a divorce. Both spouses want to make sure they get their fair share, but will likely have different ideas for what that looks like. Still, it is important that you do not hide any of your assets throughout your divorce. This is illegal and can result in criminal penalties, such as fines or even jail time.
If you believe your soon-to-be-ex is hiding assets, alert your attorney as soon as possible.
Signs this may be happening include:
- A sudden decrease in salary or income
- Secrecy about finances or financial documents
- Irritation when questioned about assets
- Excessive gifting
Mistake 4: Not Updating Your Estate Plan
After every life change, you should update your estate plan, and divorce is definitely a qualifying event. You’ll want to update your estate plan to no longer include your ex, or modify your beneficiaries and their inheritances accordingly. You may also need to make changes regarding your power of attorney and healthcare documents.
If a significant number of changes need to be made, it could be beneficial to write a new estate plan altogether.
Mistake 5: DIY Divorce
Some couples are tempted to try a DIY divorce. We understand that a cheap, fast divorce is enticing. However, attempting to handle your divorce without an attorney has many negatives.
With a DIY divorce, you risk:
- Inaccurately filling out important paperwork
- Fighting with your spouse throughout the process
- Spending more money in the long run as adjustments need to be made
- Placing significant pressure and responsibility on yourself during an already difficult time
- Making decisions that negatively affect your future that could have been avoided with legal guidance
Oregon Divorce Legal Representation
The guidance and assistance of a divorce attorney is invaluable. If you are currently going through a divorce, or are preparing to file, contact Baxter Harder, LLC today. We are aware of the most common mistakes people make during this time and can help guide you in making the best decisions for your future.