Divorce can be an emotionally charged and messy experience. Even if you start the process with amicable feelings toward your soon-to-be ex-spouse, the tension the situation is likely to generate between you and your spouse can, unfortunately, create many problems for both of you. While it can be incredibly difficult to remain practically minded and objective throughout your divorce proceedings, there are a few best practices everyone should follow in divorce proceedings, and there are a few things no one should do during the divorce process.
The following common mistakes can severely impact your divorce process and potentially the rest of your life. Keep these warnings in mind as your divorce unfolds, even if it becomes an arduous process. Abstaining from these common mistakes will serve your best interests and help you reach the most positive possible outcome to your divorce.
Don’t Fall Into Denial About Starting Divorce Proceedings
It’s easy to fall into denial when you are blindsided by a divorce petition from your spouse. You may not want to get divorced, but if your spouse has made up their mind, there is likely no way to talk them out of it, and unnecessary fighting in the preliminary stages of divorce only does a disservice to your own best interests. Once you recognize the signs of an impending divorce, it’s important to shift your focus toward protecting your future interests, and if you have children, focusing on what would be best for them once your divorce is complete.
One of the biggest mistakes you can make is ignoring your spouse’s divorce petition. When a married person files for divorce, their divorce petition includes their preferred terms for the divorce. The other spouse must respond to this petition within the allotted time; otherwise, the petitioner can essentially get whatever they want through a summary judgment. You may not want to get divorced, but ignoring the divorce petition will not prevent it and will only make a difficult situation even worse.
Don’t Make Decisions Out of Spite
Divorce can dredge up intense negative emotions for both spouses. You mustn’t allow these negative feelings to influence your decision-making processes during the initial stages of divorce. For example, if you discover that your spouse has cheated on you, the idea of civil divorce negotiations with them may be unthinkable at first, and you may relish the idea of dragging them through a difficult court battle to “teach them a lesson.” However, this would also cause you to incur more substantial legal fees, and the attitude you project during divorce proceedings can influence the court’s perception of you.
Regardless of the reason behind your divorce, try to remain as collected and objective as possible throughout the process. Your divorce attorney can be an invaluable asset throughout an emotionally strenuous divorce case, helping you remain focused on your future and assist you in making informed, logical decisions about your options throughout the case.
Don’t Talk About Your Divorce Publicly
As a general rule, it is always best to refrain from discussing any legal case publicly, including divorce cases. While you may turn to relatives and close friends for emotional support during a difficult divorce, it is always best to avoid talking about the specifics of your case with anyone. Ultimately, you never know what someone you trust could let slip to someone else, and if sensitive information reaches your ex-spouse or their legal team, it could influence your case. It’s also best to avoid social media during your divorce. Posting comments or photos that conflict in any way with any testimony or statements you’ve given during your divorce proceedings will undoubtedly be leveraged against you, potentially influencing the outcome of your divorce.
Don’t Jeopardize Your Relationships With Your Children
If you have young children, your divorce will be difficult for you, but it will be even more uncertain and challenging for them. Your kids may not understand what is happening and why their home life has changed so drastically. It’s vital to take the time required to explain the situation in ways they can understand and strengthen your relationships with them as much as possible. If the court determines you and your spouse to be fit parents, you will likely share custody after divorce.
You may not like the idea of sharing custody with your soon-to-be ex-spouse, but the reality is that children benefit the most when they have access to both their parents. As long as your spouse has not proven themselves to be dangerous to your children in any way, sharing custody will ultimately serve your children’s best interests. Do not, under any circumstances, try to turn your children against their other parent, even if you believe it to be justified. Doing so will almost certainly backfire on you and irreversibly damage your relationship with your children. It will also hinder the chances of establishing a healthy co-parenting relationship with your ex.
Don’t Underestimate the Value of Legal Counsel
Suppose you and your spouse have reached a mutual decision to divorce, or your divorce is relatively straightforward, and both seem to know and respect one another’s expectations. In that case, you could fall into the trap of thinking you do not need legal counsel to handle the divorce process. However, no matter how simple your divorce may seem, it is always best to have legal counsel. Your attorney can help you make informed decisions about the direction of your case, guide you through alternative dispute resolution to save you time and money, and ultimately assist you in reaching the best possible outcome of your divorce case.
Attempting to handle your divorce on your own has many pitfalls. For example, you would need to meet strict filing deadlines with the court, handle preliminary motions entirely unassisted, and sort through complex discovery proceedings to ensure you reach a reasonable outcome. In addition, you would need to accomplish these things while managing your personal life and your career, which is a monumental undertaking for even the most highly motivated individuals. Ultimately, hiring the right Bloomington divorce attorney can help you approach your divorce with confidence, and rest assured knowing you have a legal team dedicated to preserving your best interests.