Divorce is difficult enough, so there’s no point in making it any harder than it has to be. No one actually thinks divorce is in their future, which is why most aren’t well prepared for the life-changing event. Even if you’ve signed a prenup, having a contingency plan isn’t a reality for most couples destined for the big D.
Whether you’re experiencing an amicable split or a rocky road, here are five mistakes to avoid when going through a divorce.
1. Looking to your child to fulfill your ex’s role
Besides being just plain creepy, it’s not uncommon for a parent to turn to their child during the divorce process. After their parent’s have separated, children may feel pressured to step into an adult role. In an effort to fill a new parental void in the household, a child’s intentions are probably good, but don’t let that sway your reactions to them. While it’s sweet your child is concerned about you, it’s important you acknowledge their needs before your own.
2. Fighting dirty
There’s no reason to hit below the belt. While maintaining some semblance of maturity may be near impossible, you’ll be happier for it in the end. Too often do divorce proceedings become ugly, ridden with jealousy, and wrought with anger. Taking the high road, though, will prove the path definitely worth taking.
Keep it clean, and keep it civil. Hard as it may be, just remember, you were once able to see the good in this person, and unless they’ve had a lobotomy, there’s likely a little good left in them … deep, deep down inside.
3. Being in the dark, financially
Just as life comes with non-negotiables — like paying your taxes — so too does your divorce. The death of your relationship comes with a whole slew of financial issues, so it’s imperative you’re well-versed on the state of your past, current, and future finances. What are you responsible for? How will divorce affect your taxes? All of this information will inevitably come into play, so it’s best to arm yourself with everything you need in order to make the wisest decisions for yourself and your future.
If your partner handled all the finances, it’s time to step into the light and get your hands on all pertinent financial documents. Seeing a tax expert or a financial adviser will be highly beneficial.
4. Refusing to get your own lawyer
Family court and divorce lawyers exist for good reason. In an effort to keep things as fair and civil as possible, most people going through a divorce typically hire a divorce attorney to assist with all the nitty-gritty. Dividing assets, determining what each spouse is owed, establishing custody arrangements, and so on. All these things are usually better off in the hands of professionals who know their stuff. You could be headed straight for turmoil if neither you nor your partner commits to hiring a good lawyer.
5. Dangling your new relationship in front of your ex
Finalizing a divorce can take years, so it’s not unlikely you will meet someone new, or even engage in a new relationship, over the course of the process. Everyone has needs, but whatever you do, The Huffington Post says you should not flaunt your newest, latest love interest in front of your soon-to-be-ex.
Though you might be tempted to show off your new partner, don’t. While you’d probably jump at the chance to let your ex know you’re not damaged goods and are still able to attract a mate, it could prove disastrous as your divorce plays out.