Even in the best of circumstances, divorce tends to be a complicated affair. In simple, straightforward cases, the process can go smoothly. But the more that’s involved, and the more emotions flare up, the trickier things become. It’s important to be rational and detail-oriented. People often damage their own divorce cases along the way.
Errors cost people in a variety of ways:
- You can lose out on your share of the marital assets.
- Child custody or visitation can be decreased.
- You can end up paying more for spousal support.
- It can create additional tension, animosity, and hard feelings between spouses.
Divorce has a huge impact on your life moving forward. As such, it’s vital not to screw it up for avoidable reasons.
How People Damage Their Own Divorce
There are many ways people damage their own divorce cases, but if you know what to look out for, hopefully, you can avoid hurting your own cause.
1. Filing Too Soon
Some people believe that filing for divorce first gives you an edge. They try to burst out of the starting gate ahead of their spouse. In some circumstances, this works. But in others, people irreparably damage their own divorce.
If you’re prepared and have a clear plan of action, by all means, go right ahead. But don’t just file for the sake of filing.
Take the time to organize paperwork and documents, save money, and find the right divorce attorney. Laying a solid foundation for your case is far more beneficial than being the first to file. Sure, you may just want to get it over with, but being prepared only helps in the long run.
Related Reading: Should I File for Divorce First?
2. Agreeing to Unfavorable Terms
Divorce is a hectic, stressful, wildly emotional time. By the time they get in the thick of the process, many people have been through so much they just want it to be over, no matter the cost. But sometimes that cost is great.
Far too often, people willingly offer assets or agree to unfair terms in hopes of speeding things up. Of course it hurts, ending a marriage is tough. But being as level-headed as possible helps many people avoid damaging their own divorce case.
Related Reading: When is the Best Time to Divorce?
3. Taking Bad Advice
Divorce is common. Odds are, you know multiple people who have been through the process before. Many eagerly offer advice and share their stories, but be careful which suggestions you follow.
In some cases, advice from friends leads people to harm their own cases.
No matter how well-intentioned, well-wishers often inadvertently undermine your position.
Every case is different, so what worked in one situation may not work in yours. While one strategy worked like gangbusters for your best friend’s cousin, it may derail your case.
Some advice, like transferring assets out of your name, may even backfire horribly. Before you do anything, a good rule of thumb is to run it by your attorney first.
Related Reading: Divorce Strategies
4. Moving Out
Moving out of a shared home sounds like a no-brainer. Who wants to keep living with a soon-to-be-ex? After all, if the living situation was great, you probably wouldn’t be divorcing.
A common practice, by the time divorce gets underway, most couples already live apart. In many cases, this leads people to damage their own divorce cases down the road.
- Moving out can set precedents about child custody decisions and impact visitation.
- If you leave the house in the hands of your spouse, it often results in larger spousal support payments.
- It often influences the division of property.
- You may be obligated to continue paying bills during divorce even if you no longer live there.
Related Reading: Moving Our During Divorce: What You Need to Know
5. Hiding Assets
Since dividing property has a substantial effect on financial well-being, it’s natural to want to protect your interests. Some people try to accomplish this by transferring assets out of their name or otherwise concealing resources.
No matter how shrewd you think you are, if you try this, you’ll most likely be found out.
If your spouse has a lawyer, they’ve probably been through this before and know where to look. This not only ruins a person’s credibility, but it can also damage their case.
Related Reading: How to File for Divorce in Washington
6. Acting In Anger
Acting out of anger is rarely, if ever, a good idea. This is true in daily life and especially for divorce.
You may have very good reasons for being mad, hurt, or disappointed, but using divorce as a tool of vengeance doesn’t do any good. More often than not, it only prolongs things and makes everyone feel worse.
When it involves kids, it’s even trickier. With shared custody, you’ll have to communicate with your ex in some capacity.
If you burn bridges and create additional hostility, the kids will pick up on that.
Try to stick to the facts at hand, avoid unnecessary conflict, and prepare to move forward with your life. You’re doing this to move on, not linger in the past.
Related Reading: Divorce After a Brief Marriage
7. Doing It Yourself
With online resources and guides, handling a divorce yourself is now easier and more accessible than ever. In a few minutes, you can download the forms, fill them out, pay the fees, and file them in the appropriate place. Easy.
While a do-it-yourself approach is ideal in some cases, it causes some to damage their own divorce cases.
When it comes to shorter marriages with no kids and little shared property, DIY is often the way to go. The more there is to deal with, the more complicated things get. The likelihood of mistakes increases along with the complexity. Especially if your spouse hires a divorce lawyer, consider hiring one of your own.
8. Acting Out On Social Media
One study found that one-third of divorce filings in the United States cite the word “Facebook.” Often this is how one spouse finds out about infidelity on the part of the other. But social media also frequently factors into the actual divorce process.
Lashing out at an ex online paints an ugly picture. Sharing particulars of a divorce often causes one side to stop cooperating with the other. In custody situations, posting photos of wild nights out can make a person look like an irresponsible parent.
Too often, people don’t consider the impact of what they post and cause problems for themselves.
These are just a few ways people ultimately damage their own divorce cases. Don’t worry, there are many others.
How divorce plays out has a significant impact on your life moving forward. There are custody, division of property, maintenance payments, and more to consider.
Stop to think through the potential consequences. Try to remain calm, rational, and use common sense in every decision. When in doubt, check with your lawyer if you have one. Divorce is hard enough, don’t create new problems you have to overcome.
Related Reading: An Epic Divorce Tale of Spite and Anger
From Divorce For Men Radio