Not surprisingly, divorce is one of the most stressful and emotionally wrenching life events. As an attorney who handles numerous divorce cases in North Texas, I see time and again how even the so-called “amicable” break-ups can cause feelings of sadness and confusion, so imagine how much worse it can get if conflict and hostility take the center stage in the dissolution of marriage.
When we are vulnerable, our thoughts and actions often become clouded by emotions. As a result, we may not exercise good judgment at a time when clear-headed decisions need to be made. And you certainly want to avoid making serious mistakes because whatever happens during this time will impact your and your children’s future.
Be aware of the traps
Everyone’s situation is different, but there are some common mistakes that divorcing couples (or those contemplating filing for divorce) tend to make – either because they are too overwhelmed by emotions, or they just don’t have all the facts about divorce laws in Texas.
Here are some of the mistakes that I have seen people make. Fortunately, there is a solution for each one – you just have to be prepared and helped by an experienced divorce attorney.
- Believing everything you hear and read. Your family and friends can be a great source of support to you during this difficult patch, but they may unwittingly give you bad advice. Even if they themselves had gone through divorce proceedings, the circumstances of their cases may have been totally different from yours. Only a lawyer can give you a sound advice pertaining specifically to your situation.
- Failing to set realistic goals for the outcome. One of the most difficult things during a break-up may be to resist the urge to “punish” your spouse for whatever misfortunes you believe he / she is responsible for. But you should not be guided by bitterness or desire for revenge. This is the time to be levelheaded and focus on sensible goals that you’d like to achieve in your new life, both financially and emotionally.
- Not securing spousal support (alimony) and child support payments with insurance. Even if you want to completely wipe the slate clean and have a fresh start, don’t do anything that you may regret later. This is all the more important if you have children – you should ensure that they will have adequate financial support from your former spouse. You should also request that he / she purchases (or modifies current) disability and life insurance policies so that that these payments continue in the event of his / her disability or death.
- Not tying up all the loose ends. There are some practical matters that need to be settled – otherwise they will come to haunt you sooner or later. They may be of financial nature (for example: who will claim children as dependents at tax time) or practical (custody, visitations, etc.). It may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many crucial details people neglect to hammer out when they are not thinking clearly.
- Putting your children in the middle. This may sound like an obvious “no-no,” but when you are going through a rough time, you may do or say things that could be damaging to your children. Remember: no matter how difficult the situation is, your kids should NEVER have to choose sides or feel in any way implicated in your problems. By the same token, resist the urge to compete with your spouse for your children’s affection and loyalty by buying them expensive gifts. Kids are very skilled at playing one parent against the other – don’t give them ammunition to do so!
- Going at it alone. You might be independent and self-reliant, but a divorce is not the time to try out your do-it-yourself skills. There is too much at stake. In order to avoid these missteps (and achieve the results you want), you must seek legal advice.
Getting help makes all the difference
Obviously, these six mistakes are just the tip of the iceberg. I have seen people exercising poor judgment during divorce proceedings more times than I care to mention, which is probably understandable under the circumstances, but not excusable in the long run.
What can you do to protect your rights, as well the rights of your minor children? How can you make sure that your (realistic) expectations and goals are met?
Work with a divorce attorney, one who will guide, advise, and bat for you even in the most contentious divorces.
Please contact me,
Gary R. Warren,WARREN & MIGLIACCIO, LLP ATTORNEYS AT LAW 3600 SHIRE BLVD. SUITE 205 RICHARDSON, TEXAS 75082 Phone: (888) 584-9614