It’s been said that navigating a divorce can feel like walking through a minefield. Most assume this is because of the raw emotions that bubble up when an intimate relationship falls apart.
While that’s certainly true, in our experience as Columbus family law attorneys, divorce can often feel most overwhelming when decisions need to be made. After all, there are seemingly a million big and little decisions to make. And the steps you take (or don’t) during a divorce can have long-lasting effects on not only your own life, but your children’s as well.
Knowledge is not only power, it’s also peace of mind. Go into your divorce prepared and informed, and you’ll know what to expect and which paths to take when each decision comes your way.
And, if nothing else, simply avoid these eight common mistakes dads make during a divorce.
You might have been wronged and hurt, but this is a chance to be the bigger person and set an example for your kids, who don’t need to witness animosity between their parents. And besides, seeking revenge in a divorce can become costly, quickly. Even if you can afford it, nothing good will come from driving up the cost of a divorce in order to hurt another person.
A lot changes in a divorce, and few are perhaps harder to adjust to than a new financial outlook. Start by figuring out your new financial standing. Did your credit take a hit during a separation? What will your new living expenses be like? Will you need to find a new place to live, but with half the salary to contribute? What about your child support payments or alimony?
Take these steps to secure yourself financially before, during, and after a divorce. Set a budget and stick to it. And no matter how tempting it is to treat your kids with lavish presents or getaways, or to over-promise what you’re actually capable of contributing, try your best to avoid those traps.
Children thrive when both parents are active and involved. It can be easy to simply give in to your ex’s demands in the spirit of compromise and harmony. But keep focused on what you want your relationship with your children to look like, and don’t be afraid to fight for it. Or to hire an attorney to fight for it on your behalf.
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This goes for anything, from hiding money to hiding an affair. In order to help get you the result you want, your attorney needs to know what potential hazards and challenges might come up in a divorce in order to develop a plan to deal with them. (And if you can’t trust your divorce attorney, maybe you need another one.)
…in romance, that is. While everyone has different coping mechanisms and timelines for when to start dating after a breakup, be cautious of too much too soon. You’re still technically in one relationship and failing to appropriately deal with that can lead to future disaster. If you’d like to know more, we’ve covered this topic before, in this post about what you need to know about dating and divorce.
Social media increasingly plays a role in divorces, and things said and published online can have a significant effect on your case. But we’re also talking about talking to friends — and specifically mutual friends. While it’s important to have friends and family to lean on during this difficult time, be wary of taking legal advice from friends, or even discussing your legal strategy with friends, particularly if they happen to be mutual friends.
Finances might be hard right now, and you might even agree on most things about your divorce with your ex, but proceeding without an experienced, guiding hand can lead to even more problems later.
Your attorney may be able to spot the hidden tax implications of allocating a particular asset, or help you to balance and judge the tradeoffs between various forms of child or spousal support.
Need more proof? Check out this post about what can happen if you go to court without a family law attorney.
It’s not enough to simply hire an attorney either. If you fall for the myth that you need a no-holds-barred, blood-thirsty, in-it-to-win-it attorney, your divorce could take a nasty turn, becoming much more difficult and expensive. Some cases require that kind of touch, but not all of them. The approach you and your lawyer take to your divorce should be tailored toward getting you the results you want.
The bottom line is you’ll want someone you can fully trust in your corner. At Babbitt & Dahlberg, we have more than 45 years of combined experience, plus national recognition by organizations such as Best Lawyers in America, the Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers (AAML) and Super Lawyers. Get in touch with our team today.