Going through a divorce is a challenging process. Even amicable divorces involve moments of doubt and confusion. Making decisions based on emotions is often not in your best interest.
People understand how personal and legal choices made during a divorce impact the outcome of their lives going forward but still allow divorce-related stressors and emotions to cause mistakes. Read ahead for an important list of things to avoid and be aware of when going through a divorce today.
Going Through a Divorce? – Things to Consider Before Making Tough Calls
Some divorces are expected. Events over time lead to inevitable conclusions drawn by both parties. Some couples gradually grow apart over time, which softens the impact of the decision to end their marriage. Other divorces shock one partner or the other and cause tremendous tension, stress, and hardship. Expected, unexpected, amicable, or contested – a divorce causes heightened emotions and varying levels confusion.
Take Time to Collect Your Thoughts
Before you make any tough calls, it is important to gather your thoughts and consider all factors relevant to your situation. Decisions you make during your divorce process impact the rest of your life, for better or worse. This is especially true when children are involved because a divorce also impacts the quality and prospects of their lives in numerous serious ways. Custody arrangements, where you live, asset distribution and personal finances are all impacted by a divorce. You have the right to take your time when going through this process, even when pushed by opposing attorneys or disgruntled spouses. Every decision you make has a consequence so it is vital to take a deep breath and make your decisions with as clear a head as possible.
Get the Help You Need
It might be necessary to hire a divorce lawyer to help guide your decisions and protect your rights during your divorce. Even if you do not go to court a divorce attorney has the skills and experience to represent your best interests without emotions influencing any decisions. Seeing a counselor is another option to consider when going through a divorce. An attorney helps handle legal, financial and custody aspects of your divorce but a counselor helps you process your feelings in a healthy way. Getting professional guidance and help from these types of providers increases your chances of making healthy positive decisions for your future or the future of your children.
Quick Stats About Divorce in America Today
Divorces are common in the U.S. albeit less common than they were a few years ago. 746,971 divorces were reported across forty-five U.S. states and Washington D.C. in 2020. This number seems ambiguous when out of context but not when compared to additional marriage statistics. 6.1 marriages occurred per 1,000 people, resulting in 2,015,603 marriages over the course of during a one-year period. 2.7 divorces also occurred per 1,000 people during the same one-year period but not necessarily to newly married couples. The U.S. divorce rate dropped to a record low of 1.49 percent in 2019, while marriage lengths simultaneously increased by almost twelve months.
Other important statistics to be aware of are related to children of divorced couples. Children of divorces are more prone to injuries, asthma attacks, speech deficiencies and physical hardships than children whose parents stay together. Teenagers of divorced couples are three-hundred percent more likely to require mental health services than one whose family remains intact. Education, emotional development, acclimation into society and future relational or marital choices are all more susceptible to adverse outcomes in children of divorces.
Avoid These Legal Mistakes When Going Through a Divorce
What you say (and put in writing) can and likely will be used against you. Avoid sending mean or hurtful text, email, or social media messages to your spouse to avoid damaging your status and case in court. While it is not illegal to accept a lowball settlement offer, a settlement does become legally binding once you sign on the dotted line. Some people rush into decisions because they want the draining nature of their divorce proceedings to end as quickly as possible. Discuss all settlement offers with your attorney and allow him or her to guide you toward the best financial results obtainable, even if it means enduring longer emotional strain.
Avoid representing yourself in a divorce, especially if it is contested or involves adultery or abuse. This applies if you are the abused or the abuser, adulterer or faithful partner. Adultery is heartbreaking and stirs up aggravated, vengeful feelings. Avoid confronting a spouse’s lover in person, writing or over the phone. Also avoid saying anything self-incriminating or detrimental to your case when on the phone. Recording phone conversations is simple, easy and effective. Getting caught while speaking abusively, threateningly or admitting wrongdoing is a mistake requiring extra care to avoid.
Personal Choices to Avoid During Your Divorce
Temptation is often heightened by the stresses of a divorce. Temptation to engage in casual or sexual rebound relationships is common. If you have fallen in love or become seriously involved with someone else, the temptation to intensify that relationship is also strong during a divorce. Avoid dating, whether casually or seriously until your divorce is finalized. Even the perception of you committing adultery, however false, has potential to reduce your final settlement amount and outcome.
Avoid putting your children in the middle of tension between you and your spouse, especially when custody is undecided. Most importantly this is damaging to your children but it also reduces your chances of obtaining the custody arrangement you desire. Avoid grieving and engaging in indulgence-based behaviors during the divorce process. Remain focused and vigilant until the divorce is finalized to prevent breakdowns and mistakes, which could cost you your home, custody rights and significant amounts of money.
Quality divorce lawyers are easy to find using online resources such as Lawyers.com, Attorneys.com, LegalMatch and FindLaw. Keep in mind the rights of extended family members. For example, grandparents have varied degrees of rights each U.S. state. Fathers are commonly presumed to have automatic custodial, biological, and legal rights. Modern courts now prioritize the best interest of the children regardless of the parent able to provide it. Several more important things to be aware of when going through a divorce include:
- Avoid thinking in terms of winning and losing; instead think of the best big-picture result.
- Plan for altered finances.
- Beware your children might pick sides.
- Organize proof of income.
- Inventory joint and individual assets.
- Close all joint accounts immediately.