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Top 10 Common Mistakes Made in a Divorce


A divorce is hard enough without making things more difficult for yourself by making common mistakes. If this is your first divorce, you may not know what to expect or how to protect your rights. Avoiding these top 10 common mistakes can put you in a better position to handle your divorce and prepare for the future.

Letting Your Emotions Take Over

Getting divorced is an emotional time. You are grieving the loss of your relationship and may have feelings of anger, sorrow, guilt, fear or frustration. You must put these emotions to the side, however, and think pragmatically during legal negotiations. Refusing to communicate with your spouse or seeking revenge, for example, can draw out the divorce process and cost you more money in the long run.

Hiding or Destroying Property or Documents 

A critical mistake is thinking that you can destroy property, records or documents without any legal recourse. Hiding assets, doctoring documents and destroying property in an effort to look like you make or own less before your divorce could lead to you being held in contempt of court. It can also make it more likely for a judge to side with your ex-spouse.

Making Large Purchases or Incurring New Debt

Similar to hiding assets, making large purchases or incurring new debt leading up to your divorce is not a good idea. Charging high amounts will be marks against you in the eyes of a judge. You can be ordered to be solely responsible for these unusual liabilities.

Failing to Understand Your Full Financial Situation

It is imperative to have a complete understanding of your financial situation prior to getting divorced. You need a firm grasp of your assets, debts, retirement accounts, investments, business ventures, interest accrued, inflation, tax liabilities and more. A comprehensive understanding of your financials, including separate vs. marital property is the only way to protect yourself when dividing your assets.

Badmouthing Your Spouse in Front of the Kids

No matter what negative feelings you have toward your ex, if you share children, resist the urge to badmouth their mother or father in front of them. Belittling your ex-spouse to others, especially the kids, can be a black mark against you during a custody case. It can also inflict emotional damage, as your child may feel like he or she has to pick sides.

Posting on Social Media

Anything that you post on social media can be used against you during a divorce case. Photos of you going on dates with a new romantic partner, for example, could be used against you in a custody case. Posting details about your divorce or financial situation is especially risky.

Failing to Plan for Life After Your Divorce 

Your divorce might be the only thing you can think about right now, but eventually, the legal process will be over. You need a plan for when this happens. Work with an attorney to understand the tax implications of your divorce, change your will or estate plan, and map out your financial future with realistic expectations.

Agreeing to an Unfair Settlement 

Once you sign a settlement agreement, you generally cannot reopen your divorce case. It is essential to be absolutely certain that the settlement is fair and accurate before you sign, especially if it was not drafted by an attorney. It is also important not to make oral side agreements with your ex-spouse, as these agreements will not be honored in court.

Choosing Not to Hire an Attorney

A Fort Collins divorce attorney will have in-depth knowledge of the Colorado divorce process. Your lawyer will use this – along with aggressive negotiation strategies and legal resources – to fight for a positive case outcome on your behalf. Your lawyer will avoid common mistakes and strengthen your case from the beginning.

Not Being Completely Honest With Your Attorney

Your divorce attorney cannot help you if he or she is only given half the story. Your attorney is legally obligated to protect your best interests; you can and should be completely honest with your attorney throughout the divorce. This is the only way your attorney can be fully prepared for the legal process ahead.

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