6 Common Divorce Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Going through a separation or divorce can be a difficult journey for many people. This is especially so in the early stages where it’s sometimes tough to think clearly and make the right decisions. These tips can help give you a head start on making your divorce as smooth as possible.
1. Be careful with your online posts.
You may be pained by something your ex-partner has said or done and want everyone to know about it. However, keep in mind that anything you post online can be used in evidence later on and may even give rise to a cause of action in harassment or defamation. It’s best to keep your feelings about your ex out of cyberspace.
2. Remember important dates
Missing critical events, such as Court hearings or a meeting with your lawyer can be damaging to your case. The best way to make sure you keep up with important appointments is to keep an electronic diary, with prompts that notify you of upcoming events. There are several apps available that provide such a service. It is also a good idea to jot down other significant details, such as the names of people you meet – social workers, Court registrars, or even the person on the other end of the Centrelink assistance line. These will help you keep track of developments and may serve to refresh your memory should you need to rely on this information later on.
3. Don’t use Court as a way to get back at your ex
The Family Law Courts are generally uninterested in who caused the relationship breakdown. Strict legal factors are used to determine outcomes, not to place blame. Although you may be hurt by things your former partner has done (or not done) there are no legal provisions to ‘punish’ them for these actions in the course of divorce proceedings. If at all possible in your circumstances, try avoid the added stress and expense of Court – you’ll need both these resources for the challenging life-events that follow a separation.
4. Don’t use the kids to get revenge.
Apart from the confusion and emotional damage this may cause your children, judges, psychologists and the other professionals that work within the legal system are very good at determining when children are expressing their own views or are being manipulated into saying certain things about the other parent. Avoid making negative comments about your ex partner in front of the children, taking a neutral approach if necessary and encourage your family and friends to do the same.
5. Beware the horror stories.
Your family and friends may mean well when they share their divorce experiences with you, but it is worth remembering that every story has two sides and that usually these stories get better in the telling, and re-telling. The media is also unhelpful, often reporting on the sensationalist aspects of cases. Every family is unique and your situation may have a set of circumstances that would lead to a different outcome from those around you.
6. Get legal advice early.
Waiting too long to get legal advice may lead you to make unnecessary concessions or undermine the chances of a timely resolution to any disagreements. Being informed early on and arming yourself with knowledge that is accurate and up to date will give you confidence in your negotiations with and may help to resolve a dispute at the early stages.