COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID

1. Making decisions while you are upset.

A divorce is a very emotional and difficult time. If you make decisions while you are depressed or upset, you can easily make bad decisions. Try to make important decisions only when you feel strong. Make decisions because you want to make that choice, not because the other party (or someone else) wants you to make that choice, or wants you not to make that choice.

2. Getting divorce advice from family and friends.

No doubt you will hear a lot of urban legends about divorce law. Many of them are not correct. While your family may have good intentions and want to help you, that does not change the fact that many things they tell you may not be accurate. Just because your friend got the house in his or her divorce does not mean that you will, too. The most reliable source of divorce information is your lawyer.

3. Failing to keep a journal.

In a highly contested case, the details of what has happened can be particularly important. A journal that contains all the daily events surrounding the divorce will be invaluable when you want to remember what has occurred.

4. Hating or Resenting your spouse.

This gets you nowhere. As they say, the best revenge is good living, and it is even more true in a divorce. So, go to counseling, work out your feelings, do whatever it takes, but don’t openly hate or resent your spouse. We agree with Nelson Mandela when he said “Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.”

5. Talk to your children like they are 20 years-old.

This is so obvious and so often ignored. Spare your children the confusion and pain by avoiding discussing sensitive topics with them. Ask yourself if what you are telling them is for their benefit or yours; it’s usually for yours. Furthermore, saying negative things about the children’s other parent to them is more likely, in the long run, to alienate them from you, not from the other parent.

6. Not considering priorities.

Occasionally, we make decisions that are not consistent with our priorities. We give lip service to one thing, claiming it is a priority in our lives, yet we make decisions that detract us from the very thing we say is the most important to us. However, if we make a list or just think about our priorities, we can make better choices for ourselves and loved ones.

7. Avoiding the truth.

Telling the truth is critical to good decision making. Many times, we will say things to please others, or to avoid saying something that will hurt. It is important to ensure that every word that comes out of your mouth is true, whether the statement is big or small. Honesty is indeed the best policy. Will Rogers was right when he said, “Tell the truth. It’s a lot easier to remember.”

8. Procrastination.

Sometimes making a decision is difficult, so we postpone it and postpone it. But not to decide is to decide. No decision is a decision. Once you’ve made a decision, own it. Doing so is key to living with it.

9. Not knowing important information.

Gather as much information about your finances as possible, including account numbers, contact information, and balance history for all insurance policies, bank accounts, investments, and retirement plans. Do not go into divorce blind: you need to know as much as possible about your family finances.

10. Ignoring a bad financial situation.

If you have a lot of high interest or unsecured debt, consult a bankruptcy lawyer to see if you can and should file for bankruptcy, and if not, how best to get rid of the debt you have. Often bankruptcy will be a better long-term move, and your credit may actually improve in a short period of time after you eliminate outrageous debts and make a financial recovery. Going forward, buy in cash or use your bank debit card to make purchases, and pay off the credit card balances in full each month. Can’t or don’t want to pay for it now? Then don’t buy it.