So you're getting a divorce. While things may feel a bit overwhelming now, you're taking the first step toward a brighter, healthier future. Something you're likely already well aware of, though, is that this legal process comes with some pretty high stakes. With so much on your mind, it can be easy to overlook things or make mistakes, and unfortunately, these mistakes can come with a hefty price tag -- financially or emotionally -- if you're not careful.
However, the good news is that experts -- from marriage counselors to family law attorneys and more -- compiled a list of some of the most frequently made mistakes they've seen over the years -- or, in the case of divorced individuals, the mistakes they've made themselves -- along with ways to avoid them, so you don't have to make the same errors.
Common divorce mistakes: the legal side
Every divorce is different. No matter how well-meaning friends, co-workers or family members may be, your attorney will always be the best source of accurate, up-to-date legal guidance and information. To that end, try to avoid mistakes like:
- Taking legal advice from non-experts
- Failing to anticipate how long the divorce process might last
- Not at least considering alternatives to litigation
Where many people may think a divorce takes a few months, it's often more like years. Something that may speed things up is mediation; while many couples don't even think about it, this non-adversarial approach allows couples to work out issues with a neutral mediator, often making the process not only faster and less expensive, but also helping to protect your children, as you and your ex -- not a judge -- determine the child custody arrangement.
Common divorce mistakes: the kids
Speaking of the kids, parents face their own unique set of potential divorce errors that include:
- Bad-mouthing your ex in front of your children
- Refusing to co-parent
- Not being open about the divorce with your kids
No matter the current status of your relationship, your ex remains your children's other parent. Speaking ill of him or her may lead to depression, insecurity, guilt and confusion in your kids, who may interpret put-downs as a reflection on them. Though difficult, you'll likely find it advantageous for everyone if you can avoid putting down your ex. Divorce changes your relationship status but not your parental one; everyone will benefit if you and your ex can figure out how best to cooperate when it comes to parenting effectively.
While kids don't need to know all the gritty, minute details about your divorce, they will want -- and need -- to know how it's going to affect them. Addressing the separation calmly and honestly as a family can go a long way toward assuaging any fears of the unknown, such as how the separation may change their day-to-day life, their living situation and anything else that influences them directly.
Common divorce mistakes: everything else
Other typical mistakes include not planning for life after your divorce, and failing to speak up about your needs and goals. Divorce is a stressful time; yes, finances are tight and emotions are running high, but with the help of an experienced Colorado divorce lawyer, you will get through it to a better, more stable life on the other side, so it can be important now to begin planning for the long term. A financial plan can help you determine your budget and start working toward a brighter future.
A family law attorney in the Wheat Ridge area can also help make sure that you don't lose your voice and your self-assurance during the divorce process. A lawyer can fight on your behalf to help stop you from caving to unreasonable demands and can help advise you on the best courses of action to consider. With legal counsel and your own self-confidence, you can and will come out the other side of your divorce stronger than ever and ready to begin your new life.