We’ve all heard the divorce horror stories. Perhaps a family member or friend is going through one. They fill our news almost daily. When multimillionaire and billionaires divorce no expense or tactic is spared. But even for those with moderate incomes and little to decide on, “simple” divorces can turn into legal battle royales while bank accounts and emotions are drained. If you’re facing what could be a difficult divorce, there are some common avoidable mistakes that you can avoid.
Divorce is hard and it’s not uncommon to want to delay it as long as possible. Either subconsciously or consciously, those looking to divorce put off until tomorrow what should be done today. Facing negative emotions, like fear, sadness, or anger can be terrifying. Delaying divorce can help to avoid any unwanted feelings. Others procrastinate because they are unsure about what they want and are thus not ready to make any decisions. Procrastinating will enable you to avoid making decisions. But that doesn’t mean that you are absolved of the responsibility of making those decisions. Procrastinating during a divorce is one of the worst mistakes a person can make. The divorce process is often labor intensive and is typically time sensitive, often requiring time to gather necessary information (bank statements, credit information, etc…) or uncover relevant evidence. Legal requirements must be satisfied, and in a timely manner, in order for a court to rule on the dissolution of a marriage and the aspects of the marriage that must be decided. Procrastinating can ultimately limit a spouse’s options. For example: when one spouse files a divorce motion with the court and sets a hearing date, the other spouse is given notice. Often this is several months notice. But if that spouse procrastinates and does not meet with an attorney until a few weeks or days before the scheduled hearing, they run the risk of an attorney not wanting to take the case because of the lack of time they now possess. Because of this lack of time to prepare for the impending hearing date (not to mention dealing with deadlines that may have already passed), many good attorneys will not on this case. Procrastination can also lead to the disappearance of assets, incurred debts, and depreciation in property values. How to Avoid Procrastination To avoid or overcome procrastination you’ll want to do the following:
- hire a family law attorney
- gather your support group that will encourage you and hold you accountable, and
- come up with a list of desired outcomes that will help you stay on task
FAILURE TO RESPOND
Irreparable damage can be caused when you fail to respond to a court summons, your lawyer, and legal documents. Getting divorced is a legal process is governed by state laws and local rules that require, among other things, the submission of specific legal documents and adherence to applicable deadlines. It’s against the law to not respond to these things. Always respond to matters of your divorce unless you are completely certain you are not required to. You will need to double check this with your lawyer or with your local court. Many legal documents include if action is required within a certain amount of time. If the documents you receive do not have this information it behooves you to find out through either consulting with your lawyer or researching the applicable laws of your state.
CAVING INTO PRESSURE
During a divorce, when emotions are high, and you’re looking to avoid further conflict, it’s easy for a person to cave into pressure. Most trial attorneys are trained to exaggerate risks and make things bigger than they are. This can be very difficult to withstand, especially when freedom feels as if it’s just a few agreements away. Internal and external pressure fueled by fear, anxiety, your family, therapist, or other outside sources like the judge or your attorney can drive you to make hasty decisions that you otherwise would not have come to. This can mean settling for something that you don’t fully agree with. Often times a settlement agreement can be amended, but that is not often the case if it’s decided that you willingly agreed in the first place. Because of this, you need to be completely confident in the decisions you make. And that means you cannot cave under pressure. This is not an uncommon thing to happen. This can be especially hard when one spouse has always been the primary breadwinner and the other is left financially vulnerable. Intense litigation can add to the pressure. Often in cases when two spouses are unable to mutually agree to the terms of their divorce, the decision making is turned over to the judge. This can leave a person with a lack of control and completely at the mercy of an overworked judicial system with unpredictable judges. The fear of wanting to avoid this can cause a person to just give in. But there are ways to prepare yourself against caving under pressure:
- Preparation. Know what to expect and learn to recognize the internal and external pressures you will face 0r whether by friends or family or your soon-to-be ex.
- Consider limiting discussions about your divorce to a small group of trusted and objective people. This might just be your lawyer, therapist, and closest friend.
- Keep the strategic and confidential discussions regarding the case completely private. This means only sharing them with your lawyer.
- Your friends, family, and even strangers will want to offer their advice. But remember that every divorce is different. Therefore, no two situations will be the same. Chances are your best friends divorce will be very different from your own.
- Avoid confrontation with your spouse. If he or she is overbearing or disrespectful of your boundaries, consider limiting communication. This might mean that everything needs to be communicated through your lawyers.
- If the pressure is too much to take, you might want to speak to your doctor about possible treatments.
- Consider meditation to help calm your nerves, slow your mind, and stay centered during difficult situations.
Divorce is a life transition. It requires time, attention, and discipline. This will, without a doubt, be heartache and a few tears, some arguments, and heated discussions. Try to find a way to stay focused on the final outcome – freedom from a relationship that was no longer beneficial to you.
Once your divorce is finalized you’ll be able to reclaim your life and do the things you might not have done as a result of your marriage. Do things you’ve always wanted to do. Follow your heart’s desires. By doing so you are offering yourself to the world and finding your own unique way that makes you feel alive. You can choose to stay shut in by the pain of loss and old wounds, but remember that the world will continue to turn. Don’t you want to be a part of it?
WORKING WITH A DIVORCE ATTORNEY
If you are facing a divorce, you need to work with a divorce attorney that can take a look at your specific situation and advise you on all the aspects of divorce you will be facing. This might mean decisions regarding retirement funds, property, child support and custody, and alimony. A divorce attorney will work with you to help you decide how you want to tackle these elements of your marriage and divorce, while also providing guidance and support. They will be able to lead you through the process while keeping you from procrastination and caving into pressure. They’ll also be able to help ensure you meet all the required timelines while ensuring that you get a fair case and trial should you need to go to court. Lastly, they’ll be able to help you find the freedom and new life you are seeking – one that is entirely on your terms.
San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: (619) 431-3131