Maneuvering through the winding roads of divorce can be difficult. Splitting up assets, addressing the needs of your children, and separating as a family can take its toll. Add in the fact that you must remain civil with your soon to be ex-spouse, and you might soon find yourself spiraling out of control.
Although it might seem impossible to get away unscathed, you can make your divorce experience a little easier on everyone involved by avoiding these three all-too-common mistakes:
1. Dismissing Mediation
A lot of divorcing couples seem to dismiss mediation as an option. However, that's often a mistake. Mediation might not sound helpful initially, but it really is. Opting for mediation can save money, time, and distress. It can also help you and your spouse come to an agreement when it comes to assets, children, and alimony. Mediation also allows you and your partner to come up with a plan that works for you, even if it isn't traditional.
The process of mediation is simple. It usually involves a family lawyer, who meets with both parties, either together or separately, to address the needs of each person. There are no judges and you are not pressured into a decision, so it's a good option for many couples.
2. Underestimating Financial Costs
Another pitfall many divorcing couples experience is poor budget planning. During the divorce process, both parties are required to produce a budget for living expenses. In most cases, people severely underestimate this budget and it can lead to big issues.
If you are filing for alimony, make sure you produce an accurate budget. If you don't know how to do this, hire a financial planner to help you. After all, you don't want to be stuck in a financial hole unable to pay your bills.
3. Being Emotionally Attached to Assets
Assets are one of the hardest things to give up during a divorce. The house you once bought and customized together no longer belongs to both of you. Cars, furniture, and other items might also invoke painful and powerful emotions. While it's normal to be emotionally attached to items, it's best to try minimize it.
Keeping your beloved assets might seem important in the moment. But soon you might realize it's more of a burden then you previously thought. For example, a home will usually be accompanied by taxes and mortgage payments. If you cannot afford these, it's best to let go and move on—as difficult as that is.
These three divorce mistakes are all too common and they can have huge consequences. If you are in the midst of a divorce and aren't sure how to navigate through all of the complex paperwork and emotions, don't do it alone. Hire a family lawyer, like Wilson Christen LLP, and talk with a therapist to help you close this chapter of your life.