Divorce is a big decision that will change the course of your life. Even if you and your spouse are on good terms about your divorce, there are mistakes you can make that could impact the rest of your life, or that could be of detriment to your children. The divorce process can involve many challenges.
While some divorcing couples find a way to work together to reach a peaceful solution relatively quickly, there are many others who face difficult legal and financial issues, bitter disputes, and other questions that can be life-altering.
Preparing yourself to avoid mistakes is a critical part of the divorce planning process, no matter how good or bad your relationship with your spouse is. From making rash decisions in the heat of the moment to making decisions with incomplete information.
The risk for these mistakes exists at all stages of the divorce process, and they can impact all of the major aspects of your divorce. One crucial thing you should know about divorce in California is that you need advice and representation of an experienced divorce attorney from the beginning of the divorce process.
Most people do not have an in-depth understanding of California family law, which is why they make these mistakes. Hiring an experienced Los Angeles family law attorney prior to filing for your divorce can help you avoid these common mistakes.
To give readers useful information on some if the common mistakes, our California divorce lawyers are providing an overview below.
Constantly Fighting and Getting Children Involved
Disagreements and hard feelings are part of every divorce. Try to find alternate ways to handle your divorce, such as mediation or a collaborative divorce process, to decrease the fighting and increase the success of your divorce.
Both you and your spouse, as well as your children, can benefit from these processes as compared to fighting. As much as possible, leave your children out of your divorce. Providing them with too many details can cause emotional distress and worry.
Trying to get them to side with you or your spouse will likely hurt everyone involved. If you are accused of parental alienation, you may not get as much time with your children as you would like.
No matter what it takes, you should take all steps to keep you children out of the divorce because you will simply stress them out. Keep their best interest in mind and don't put them in a situation where they have to choose a side. If the court has reason to believe you created a hostile environment, they might reward you spouse with more custody time.
Making Emotional Decisions
All too often, couples going through a divorce will make a decision based on their emotions. Divorce brings up difficult matters that are close to your heart, such as your children, your home, and your sentimental assets.
Giving in to your emotions can cause you to fight for things you don't really want or need in your divorce. It can lead to a longer divorce process, which will increase the overall costs of the divorce.
Drinking more alcohol or taking drugs is never the proper reaction to deal with the emotions of the divorce. You need to step up and support your children in this difficult time, rather than reacting in a way where you might end up losing custody rights.
You can't lose your temper or leave send nasty emails or text messages to your spouse. If this happens too often, you might end up getting a restraining order issued against you.
Don't make emotional negative comments in the presence of your children. Emotional decisions can also lead to regret down the road. It can be hard to detach yourself emotionally from all that is occurring and really see your divorce for what it is.
To help make decisions that are not emotional, many people going through a divorce will hire a Los Angeles family law attorney who can help them clearly see the long-term effects of your decisions and help you keep your goals in mind.
Failure to Identify Your Separate Property
California is a community property state. This means most of the assets you and your spouse obtained during the period of your marriage will be distributed equally, but not assets you acquired before marriage. In other words, they are considered separate assets that are yours to keep.
A common mistake many people make in a divorce is failing to identify separate assets when they are going through the divorce process. It should be noted there are circumstances where assets that were acquired during the marriage will qualify as separate property.
On a similar note, there are some assets acquired before marriage that might become community assets, such as a retirement account. Don't make this mistake and be sure to make a list of your separate property before going through a divorce.
Rushing the Process and Non-Compliance with Court Orders
Everyone involved may be anxious to get this process over with as it is not usually pleasant. However, it is crucial that you not merely rush to get it over with. If you give in to get your final divorce decree sooner, you will likely regret it down the road.
Divorce takes negotiation, which takes time. Go into your divorce knowing that this is a process and not something that happens overnight. Carefully review the terms of your stipulation with your family law attorney to ensure that everything is covered and that you understand everything you are agreeing to. Once finalized, there are some details you will never be able to change.
When the family court makes rulings regarding spousal support, child support, custody, and the division of assets and debts, you must follow it. If you do not follow the court's orders, you could lose your ground in your divorce case and have unnecessary and costly complications.
If you end up with a court order that you feel is unfair or you are not able to comply, it is imperative that you use the proper channels to request changes. If you refuse to comply with existing court orders, you could be found in contempt of court, facing fines or jail time.
Finally, in your rush to get the divorce over, don't forget to change beneficiaries, wills, and trusts. A divorce does not nullify where your spouse may be listed in your will or as a beneficiary on your life insurance.
This often-forgotten step in divorce has led to some unpleasant and permanent surprises for children and subsequent spouses of divorcees upon their death. Be sure to review the types of accounts and documents that will need to be changed to remove your ex-spouse from your estate with your family law lawyer.
Avoid Divorce Mistakes with Help from a Family Law Attorney
A seasoned family law lawyer in Los Angeles can be with you every step of your divorce or separation to ensure no mistakes are made. When you encounter questions or challenges, your attorney will use their knowledge and experience to attain the best outcome possible in your divorce.
No matter your age, the duration of your marriage, or your assets, we can help through this life-changing process. To learn more about the common mistakes to avoid during the divorce process, call our law firm to discuss your situation.
Furman & Zavatsky is a Los Angeles family and divorce law firm located at 15821 Ventura Blvd #690 Encino, CA 91436. Contact us for a free case evaluation at (818) 528-3471.