20 Common Divorce Mistakes: What To Do And What To Avoid Doing

After more than 30 years of being a matrimonial attorney, I will share the things to try to do and what not to do so that you can resolve your divorce easier with less anger and expense. This list is not in a rank order of importance as some suggestions may not apply to your situation.

  1. Hard as this may seem try not to let anger rule your decision making. Logic, long term goals, financial independence, being with your children, moving on are the keys to resolution.
  2. Treat each other with respect.
  3. Try to see both sides of every issue that is still unresolved. Perspective is key to understanding how to resolve an issue.
  4. Do not hide assets and income. The result will be distrust and more time spent trying to find what may or may not exist.
  5. Do not bad mouth your spouse to your children. The kids want to love both parents and should not be put in the middle of their parent's dispute.
  6. Be flexible. Know which issues are really important and which ones are minor. Whether pick-up is at 5 PM or 5:30 may be significant based upon work schedules or it may be a minor difference of convenience.
  7. Pay your child support and spousal support.
  8. If you are sharing bills in the house, pay what has been agreed.
  9. Do not withhold the children from the other parent. Allow the children to love and have a relationship with the other parent.
  10. Communicate so that there are fewer surprises and changes in schedules.
  11. Recognize that things will change as time passes and both of you become independent.
  12. Recognize that children grow up and the schedule that was made when they were 5 and 7 years old may not work when they are 13 and 15 years old.
  13. At a minimum let the other parent know of major decisions that are being made even if you have sole custody and if you have joint custody consult with the other parent in advance so that there is real participation. Two heads may be better than one.
  14. Choose your lawyer carefully. Find someone that you trust, with matrimonial experience and who listens and explains the law to you.
  15. Hiring the most bombastic attorney may not be a good decision unless you want to have a long and expensive fight.
  16. Understand that, in most cases, you and your spouse will create a better agreement then having a trial and allowing a judge who knows you for two or three days make such important decisions for both of you.
  17. Acknowledge that you and your spouse will always be the parents of your children and will want to be able to attend award ceremonies, graduations, weddings (way down the road) without animosity.
  18. Avoid introducing new partners to your children if you are not legally separated or divorced. In most cases the other parent will feel jealous or threatened.
  19. If there are accounts to be divided that are funded during the marriage with marital monies, do not grab more than half.
  20. Think twice if not three times before sending a nasty email, text or voice message. Leave out the curse words, the insults and the putdowns.