Over the course of the process of ending a marriage, things tend to get messy and complicated. There are a number of common mistakes made in divorce. Mistakes that damage your own case.
In straightforward, low-conflict cases, things may progress smoothly. However, with forms to fill out, appointments to appear at, and many other moving parts, it doesn’t take much for problems to arise. That doesn’t even take flaring emotions into account.
Mistakes Men Make in Divorce
Men often make mistakes in divorce in a number of areas. It’s vital to know these common missteps and steer clear of easily avoidable problems.
Ill-advised choices harm your cause in a variety of ways. You may miss out on assets in the division of property. Mistakes can impact spousal maintenance, child support, or even custody arrangements.
What Not To Do
Don’t Ignore Finances
This should come as no surprise, but divorce is expensive. One of the frequent mistakes men make in divorce is ignoring finances. It costs money to file papers or respond to a motion. Then there are attorney’s fees.
When preparing for divorce, put money aside so unexpected expenses don’t blindside you.
Beyond that, you also have many other factors to consider, including:
- Keep an eye on joint bank accounts or credit cards.
- Make moves to establish your own individual accounts.
- If you’re on your spouse’s health insurance, you need to find your own coverage.
- Document all of your assets and debts.
- Don’t forget about your financial paperwork. This includes bank statements, retirement papers, loan documents, life insurance policies, investments, and other similar documents.
You have to submit this to the court anyway, so having it ready in advance saves time.
It also gives you a clear picture of what you have. Too often, men think they have a handle on what they make and spend, only to have that come back and bite them.
Related Reading: How Do Major Purchases Affect Divorce?
Don’t Settle On Unfavorable Terms
Even in the best of times, divorce is stressful and emotional. By the time you reach this point, you probably just want it to be over and done with as fast as possible.
That’s a natural feeling. But it also leads people to damage their own divorce cases and is a common mistake men make in divorce.
Too frequently, people agree to unfavorable terms in a settlement simply to get to the end. Dissolving a marriage hurts and the process takes a long time, but don’t settle just to speed things up. Take the time to consider what you truly want and go after it.
Finances, child custody, spousal support, and more have huge impacts on your future. It’s important to take the time and get what you need from divorce.
Related Reading: How Long Does Divorce Take?
Don’t Move Out Too Soon
If your marriage is broken beyond hope of repair, it makes logical sense to move out of a shared home. However, while moving out seems like a natural choice, it can have serious long-term consequences you need to be aware of.
In terms of custody, moving out may create the perception, true or not, that you’re abandoning your kids or that you’re not a dedicated parent. Children pick up on tensions at home and no children want to watch their parents fight.
The urge to escape this conflict or alleviate the tension is natural, but it can also hurt your chances of getting custody down the road. The courts want to limit changes in a child’s life, so if you establish a precedent that you’re okay with minimal parenting time, that can come back on you.
In terms of property division, moving out of a shared home can diminish your claim to it later. A house is likely the most valuable thing you own. Because of this, it’s also the most substantial piece on the table when it comes to splitting up assets.
In regards to spousal support, when you move out, the bills still stay behind. Even after setting up a new residence for yourself, the court may presume that the amount you pay in both residences is financially viable and order you to continue to pay that amount, or something similar.
Related Reading: Moving Out Too Soon, How Does it Negatively Affect Your Divorce?
Don’t Be Passive
Don’t be too passive in the divorce process.
You may want to get this over and done as quickly as possible. It’s easy to agree to everything your spouse proposes and move on. After all, it cuts down the conflict and speeds things up.
But that can harm your best interests and cause serious long-term financial consequences.
The division of property, spousal support, and child custody all greatly impact the next step. Take the time to figure out what you want and fight for it when necessary.
Don’t Argue About Every Asset
The flip side of that coin is arguing about everything. This is one of the big mistakes men make in divorce.
You may not want your ex to get anything and fight every step of the way. After years of marriage, you’re bound to have legitimate disputes.
But some people fight out of spite or revenge. This gets expensive, wastes everybody’s time, and leads to more conflict and trouble than necessary.
In general, the court divides property in an equitable fashion anyway. It may skew one way or another, but overall, the scales rarely tip severely to one side.
Also, fighting about every individual item gets exhausting. You have way more important things to spend your energy on. Again, think about what you truly want and truly need. Pick your battles where they’re most important.
Related Reading: What is Legal Separation and Is it Right for You?
Don’t File For Divorce When You Aren’t Prepared
Many think that being first out of the gates gives you an advantage and rush to file for divorce first. This does prove true in some cases, but not all. Depending on the situation, this strategy can cause people to seriously damage their own divorce cases.
If you’ve prepared ahead of time, have everything in order, and feel ready, by all means, file the paperwork and start the divorce process. But too often, people don’t adequately prepare first.
Organize your documents, set money aside, and have a clear plan of action. Establishing a solid foundation for your case benefits you far more than being the first to file. In the end, both sides have the opportunity to present their cases, and most of the time, any advantage to filing first is relatively minimal. Being prepared and organized has much more of an impact.
Related Reading: Divorce And Filing Forms: How To Get Divorced In Oregon
Not Consulting An Attorney
It’s easier than ever to take a do-it-yourself approach to end your marriage. Online resources offer a step-by-step guide through the process. Just download the forms and with a minimum of fuss, you can file, pay the fees, and be on your way.
While it’s ideal for certain situations, this DIY approach often leads people to damage their own divorce cases.
This strategy works best in simple situations. Usually, this means shorter marriages without children and with little or no shared property. DIY often works well in these scenarios.
But the longer a marriage, the more complicated the case, and the more complex the process will become. The potential to make mistakes increases, and it’s possible to do a great deal of harm without speaking with an attorney.
One of the common mistakes men make in divorce is thinking they don’t need help. It puts you at an even greater disadvantage if your spouse has an attorney and you don’t.
Related Reading: What is Pro Se Divorce? A Look At DIY
Don’t Ignore Self-Care or Mental-Wellness
Mental health is a prominent casualty of divorce. Men are more likely to suffer from depression in the aftermath. This despair often leads to a downward spiral—sometimes gradual, sometimes rapid.
Dont Keep It To Yourself and Bottling It Up
Often arriving with a potent cocktail of guilt, anxiety, uncertainty, grief, and even fear, divorce can be a sucker-punch to self-worth and self-esteem.
Programmed to suffer in silence, many men carry this heavy weight on their shoulders alone rather than turning to friends, family, loved ones, or even professionals to help cope with these feelings.
This frequently becomes a negative influence on overall mental and emotional health.
- Men are more likely to suffer from depression following divorce.
- Alcohol abuse, drug use, and other potentially detrimental behaviors spike in the wake of divorce as many men look to otherwise occupy themselves.
- Following a divorce, suicide rates in men swell.
- Men have been shown to be at an increased risk for a variety of health issues after divorce. This includes hypertension, heart disease, and even cancer, among other serious concerns.
You don’t need to post every thought you have on Facebook—in fact, maybe stay off social media during the divorce—but it’s nice to have people to confide in. You may even want to look into seeing a therapist. Professionals offer helpful insight and advice in trying times.
Your Lawyer Can’t Be Your Therapist
Divorce lawyers are privy to intimate details about your life. Often things no one else knows, not even close friends. Too often this leads people to unburden themselves. This costs time and, importantly in this case, money.
Your lawyer wants the best outcome for you and should empathize with your situation. But they’re not your confidant. Their job is not to offer emotional support and help you deal with personal problems.
Talking to a therapist, counselor, or support group is beneficial and healthy. It’s often a key part of dealing with the complex emotions of divorce, recovering, and moving on.
Also, a mental health professional has more tools and resources to help you through an emotional, turbulent time. They’re better equipped to help with what you’re going through. And likely less expensive.
Don’t Act Out Of Spite
Divorce often comes with wounded feelings, anger, and disappointment, all of which may well be justified. But acting out of spite and using this as a tool to get revenge is one way people damage their own divorce cases.
More often than not, this makes the situation messier than it needs to be.
It creates hostility, conflict, and additional problems. People often waste time and energy, and money, fighting about things that are in reality relatively minor.
Divorce is a complex process with many roadblocks and problems that pop up. This list represents just a few common mistakes men make in divorce. Much of your future hinges on decisions you make here and now, so it’s vital to spend the time and effort to get it right.
Related Reading: Do You Qualify For A Summary Dissolution?