1. Don’t Expect an Unrealistic Property Settlement
As divorce lawyers, one of the biggest mistakes we see people make in a divorce is expecting to come away with a huge percentage of the property settlement. Supporting two households on an income which used to support one means you won’t be able to keep the house, cars and all the accounts you had. Additionally, if you earned less income than your spouse, be prepared to learn that support is much less than you anticipated.
2. Don’t Try and Hide Money
When you hide assets in an attempt to prevent your spouse from getting them, it is a very bad idea. Spouses who do this at the beginning of the divorce can be held in contempt of court and sanctioned.
3. Don’t Keep Adding Money to a Joint Account
Another big mistake divorce lawyers often see is that people continue to add money to their joint bank accounts. While hiding money from your spouse / ex-spouse is a bad idea, there is no reason to keep adding money to the joint account. You should create a new account for your income. Essentially, once you separate, everything you earn is your own property.
4. Don’t Do Things Out of Spite
Understandably many separated couples get very angry which can lead to things of regret, such as putting his golf clubs in the rain. This is not a good look for you and your case, and it could ultimately sway the judge’s opinion of you.
5. Don’t Compare Divorces
All divorce lawyers will tell you that no divorce is the same and it is highly likely that yours will be very unique. As an example, child support ends when your child turns 18 and depending on custody arrangements with the child’s other parent, could change the property settlement outcome.
6. Don’t Expect to Share the Pet
In many jurisdictions, pets are considered property. The court will often look at things like, who bought the pet, what were the intentions when buying the pet (e.g. birthday gift), and even things like who looked after it. As a result, the court will generally award the pet to one party and there is no custody arrangement.
7. Don’t Surprise Your Spouse by Serving Him in Public
When surprising your spouse in public with a divorce filing, it can severely backfire; communication of intention in advanced make things easier to smooth over.
8. Don’t Make Children Pawns
Divorce is already difficult enough as it is. The last thing you want to do is involve them in an emotional tug of war. It is important to support you children emotionally and financially, otherwise they will respond to the divorce as well as you and your ex-partner.
9. Avoid Court and Try Mediation
Engaging divorce lawyers and going to court is very expensive; more often than not disputes can be resolved in mediation. This option works very well for people who are well informed about their finances, such as income, assets and so forth.