1. Do not focus on the “right time” to get divorced.
There is no perfect time to make that decision, and there are many factors to consider. Prior to making any decision, you should consult an experienced family law attorney so that you will be prepared to move forward when you are ready.
2. Do not try to go through the process alone. Hire an attorney to help you navigate.
There are other ways to save money, other than handling the case on your own. Find an experienced family law attorney who is committed to your goals and understands your priorities. Please also refer to the previous blog post, 10 Secrets to Manage Your Attorneys’ Fees.
3. Do not meet with every reputable family law attorney in the area to prevent your former spouse from hiring a respected attorney.
The concept of “conflicting out” a good attorney will only hurt you. The best way to divorce in an efficient, amicable and cost effective manner is for each party to have his or her own experienced family law attorney.
4. Do not move-out of the house without your children.
You may want a “trial separation” from your spouse; however, if you leave the house without your children, or without a parenting plan, you may not be able to successfully argue that you are the primary custodian.
5. Do not think divorce is impossible because your children cannot handle it.
The more conflict there is between you and your former spouse, the harder the divorce will be on the children. If you and your former spouse are committed to ensuring that you dissolve your marriage in an amicable fashion, your children will absolutely be able to handle the divorce and they will quickly become accustomed to their “new normal”.
6. Do not post anything on social media websites (that includes private messaging).
Everything posted on the internet, whether in a public or private forum, could be discovered by the other side. Do not post and/or message anyone without thinking to yourself, “would I be upset if this were handed to a Judge with an exhibit sticker on it”.
7. Do not shy away from therapy.
Even if you believe that your marriage cannot be salvaged, couples counseling therapy could still be helpful. If nothing else, therapy could provide a safe space for you to tell your partner that you would like to divorce. You should also consider co-parent counseling. By working with a co-parent counselor, even before you begin the divorce proceedings, you could help reduce the conflict between you and your former spouse.
8. Do not increase your marital debt.
Do not assume that all marital debt will be paid by your former spouse, even if your spouse is the sole wage earner. You do not want to be saddled with debt later, if you can avoid it.
9. Do not survey friends and/or websites for other people’s experiences.
Just like you should not use the internet to diagnose a medical condition, you should also not use the internet to obtain legal advice. Every situation is different, and laws regarding divorce vary from state to state. Websites tend to provide the most common answer or solution, not fact specific guidance. The most helpful avenue is to speak with an experienced family law attorney.
10. Do not speak negatively to the children about the other parent.
Chances are, if you are contemplating divorce, you are unhappy with your spouse. Do not share those feelings with your children. Regardless of their age, children do not need to know or be put in the middle of parent conflict. Even if you no longer love your spouse, your children love both of their parents.