"If only I had known then what I know now, perhaps I would have made less mistakes."

The saying "hindsight is 20/20" should be the motto for divorce.  We can always look back and find errors.  Often, our emotions are such a large part of the process that once those dissipate, even slightly, we start to see things differently. 

Regardless, just being aware of what to avoid and the mistakes that could happen would have made the whole process much easier.  While my hope is to never go through another divorce, hopefully you will find my sharing 8 mistakes in my divorce useful in avoiding them in your own.

Mistake #1

Keep the big mouth shut

I talked to my girlfriends about my settlement.  It got back to a husband who worked with a mutual friend who had a relationship with my ex.  Who knew?!

Somehow, it came up that I was bragging about how I was getting a better than average settlement.  While this was mostly distorted from a statement where I indicated my ex was providing a fair settlement based on the circumstances (with a little bragging - if I'm being totally honest),  his peer suggested he should re-negotiate.   This cost both of us more legal fees, time and frustration.

Don't talk about the legal parts of your divorce or situation to anyone.  People talk and close friends have close friends who talk to others who happen to know your soon-to-be-ex.  While the case may not be affected directly, issues that can spur discussions may lead one spouse to react in a way than was different than originally agreed.  This can lead to longer negotiations, less than ideal settlement or a court battle that could have been avoided.

Mistake #2

Disclose income, debts and assets

I got a new job during my divorce negotiations after being a stay-at-home mom and didn't tell my attorney or my ex.  I wasn't hiding it but eventually my ex found out.  Once he did, his attorney advised him to renegotiate the spousal support based on my new income.  

Discuss any changes or possibility of changes to your income or circumstances with your attorney to determine how they may or may not affect your negotiations. Never hide any assets, income or debts that could affect your spouse, settlement or otherwise.  

Mistake #3

Fools rush in

I was really eager to get the divorce over and done.  I didn't ask every question I wanted to ask and made assumptions that were later proven incorrect.  I thought I could easily reopen my case and renegotiate after my settlement was established.  After my divorce, I spoke to my attorney and she indicated that the likelihood of my case being reopened would be slim.  She said I would be better talking to my ex to see if he would voluntarily make changes to the agreement.  He didn't.

When you negotiate your settlement agreement, think of the future, as well as the present.  Think about changes in care or tuition for your children, consider changes in employment, mortgage payments, taxes, etc.  While you may want to just get the divorce over, planning for the future and making sure you get a reasonable settlement is essential.

Mistake #4

Be strategic when you leave

My ex husband moved out of our home immediately at the commencement of our separation and before we established a temporary custody agreement.  The judge ordered the children remain in our family home with me until the divorce was finalized.  While I cooperated with allowing him to see the children routinely, the mistake could have prevented him from spending quality time with his children if I was less than cooperative.  I shared this with him but he was less than appreciative of my cooperation.  He indicated, "I should just do the right thing." 

Technically, issues like this happen in divorce frequently and can cause lengthy battles and damage to family relationships.  Hence the actual reason I chose not to pursue it, in an effort to avoid my, then spouse, a reason to pursue the issue legally.

Find out the laws of your state regarding separation.  Establish a separation agreement which should include temporary custody arrangements and support details prior to your separation. 

Take any personal property, financial and personal documents with you when you separate (as if you will never be able to access the home again).   Make copies of mutual documents that your attorney will request.  Once you leave, it is legally more difficult to obtain personal property or records in the home without your spouses cooperation.

Mistake #5

Don't just hire any attorney

The idea of divorce was so uncomfortable for me that I didn't do all of my homework before hiring my attorney.  I didn't ask the right questions, I didn't perform the right interview and I was not prepared for the process.  I really didn't understand my state's law regarding equitable distribution of our assets/debts instead of equal distribution. 

I hired the first attorney I met and immediately following a paid retainer he was unavailable.  He never explained the state laws and was very confusing when he explained anything.  I eventually found a better attorney, but I lost valuable time and money.  I also felt like the process to switch my legal counsel negatively affected my case.

Follow the DMK Legal Guide regarding the process to hiring a good attorney.  Be prepared to interview potential attorneys with questions relevant to your case, laws, rates, process and type of divorce he/she recommends.  Following the interview, give it a day to think it through before actually hiring the right attorney.  You should also make sure your attorney fits with your personality and has good communication and negotiating skills.  Find out how much of the case will be handled by the attorney or a staff member.  Also, make sure you know who will be your primary point of contact at the firm when you have a question.

Mistake # 6

Don't lose your cool

Like many wives who get the bad news about an unexpected event that leads to divorce, I didn't take the news well.  My behavior could have been damaging to my case if my former husband wanted to go that route.

No matter how bad the news may be or how bad you reacted initially, try to remain calm in all aspects of the separation and divorce.  Angry outbursts or violent behavior can cause irreparable damage to your case.  You could get kicked out or your spouse could file a protective order against you.  Either will make your divorce and living situation far more complicated than it needs to be.  Find coping strategies when dealing with difficult news, situations or negotiations.  A cunning spouse can illicit negative behavior with passive aggressive measures which can leave you feeling powerless and defeated if you let such measures succeed.

Upon any behavior or response to behavior that leads to divorce, you should make corrections necessary and discontinue for the betterment of your family and divorce process.  Do not continue to demonstrate poor judgement or fail to seek professional guidance from a therapist or counselor who can help you overcome the issues that make the on-going situation worse.

Mistake #7

No dating until divorced

My spouse started dating soon after we were separated.  I wish it didn't bother me, but it did.  I called my attorney, but he said that since we were already legally separated and the relationship was new there wasn't much that could be done.  But, as time went on, many negotiations still needed to be satisfied.  In all occasions, I was less than cooperative.  This cost both of us more in legal fees, but at the time I really didn't care.  Now, I do.  My emotions were in front of my objective decision making. 

This mistake is common for many soon-to-be divorcees.  Laws vary in multiple states and if you and your spouse have negotiated your terms outside of court, not much will impact the settlement other than what the other spouse feels.  If you upset your spouse, you will likely cause added grief, time, money and possibly failed negotiations based on your spouses willingness to make concessions in light of your new dating life.

Mistake #8

Get your own attorney

Before we decided to get our own attorneys, my spouse suggested we share an attorney.  As we started to get into negotiations, I quickly found that I was not getting the best legal advice based on the circumstances and her experience. 

Since my husband called her first, the divorce needed to be filed with me as the defendant, even though it was the other way around.  As the negotiations were really just between my husband and I (to be provided to the attorney to file the paperwork), I found the situation too complicated to get through without my own attorney who could guide me in matters of investments, taxes and support. 

I quickly hired the first attorney I interviewed independently.  He was not a good attorney for my circumstances and I ended up with another attorney by the end of the process.

Make sure you do your research regarding all of your options. Before sharing an attorney, interview a few attorneys to determine if any could be a good individual legal representative for you.  If you have minimal assets or debts, a shared attorney may not be a bad idea.  However, if there are children, investments, multiple income streams, assets, infidelity, abuse or major issues, an individual attorney may be recommended.



The information provided by respective owner's ("we", "us" or "our) on Divorce Me Knot (referenced also as "DivorceMeKnot.com", "dmk", "DMK", "OurDMK.com", "OurDMK", "application" or "site") is for general informational purposes only and is subject to change with or without notice. All information on our site and application is provided in good faith, however we make no representation, guarantee or warranty of any kind, express or implied, regarding the accuracy, validity, adequacy, reliability, availability or completeness of any information on the site or application.

The information in articles and all content on this site should not be considered psychological or behavioral health therapy, counseling or legal, financial, real estate, mortgage, insurance or professional advice. It should not be used in place of professional advice from a licensed professional or credentialed expert. Providers of content on this site, herein known as "Contributors" (inclusive of, but not limited to writers, bloggers, editors, employees, developers, graphic designers, advertisers, partners, affiliates, references, experts, professionals and site owners) are not legally liable for any misinformation, errors or omissions.  Images, details or names may have been changed in stories or articles.

Under no circumstances should DMK and/or it's Contributors have any liability to users of the site for any loss or damage incurred to users as a result of the use of this site or application or reliance of any information provided on the site or application. Use of the site or application and reliance on any information from the site or application is solely at the user's own risk.

For complete site disclaimers review "Disclaimers" on this site or click the link below.

Read Complete Site Disclaimers Here