Navigating through a divorce is one of the most stressful experiences a person can go through. Whether you want to be separated from your estranged spouse or not, it’s important that you operate thoughtfully and strategically in order to ensure the dissolution of your marriage goes as smoothly as possible. To protect your financial and overall well-being, be sure to avoid these 10 common mistakes that individuals often make during the divorce process.

Acting Out of Anger or Guilt

Divorce can be an extremely emotional endeavor. While it’s normal to feel anger, sadness, and guilt during a divorce, it’s never a good idea to take legal action against your estranged spouse based on these emotions. Choosing to retaliate against your spouse by removing them from your health insurance before the divorce is final, hiding assets, or fighting over things that don’t matter can have long term effects that will negatively impact you for years to come. With this in mind, it’s best to consult a therapist to help you make solid decisions through every phase of the divorce process.

Putting Your Kids in the Middle of It

It may be tempting to only communicate through your children or even use them as pawns. Doing so will only make the divorce process more painful for the entire family. Divorce is traumatic for everyone involved, especially children. Not only is it not fair to involve them any more than necessary, but it can also strain your relationship with them and your estranged spouse even further. Leave your kids out of your drama as much as possible during and after the divorce.

Forgetting to Take an Inventory of Assets

If your spouse handled your finances in the marriage, it’s imperative that you take the time to review your assets. You may think you know how much you have in retirement, savings, and investment funds, but do you really? Before you’re able to split assets, you must be aware of what you actually have in your accounts.

Not Knowing What You Owe

Along with knowing how much is in your bank account, you should be aware of how much debt you and your spouse owe.  In Louisiana, spouses can be held responsible for their spouse’s debt even if it’s not under their name. Make sure that you aren’t pinned with an expensive surprise down the line. Find out exactly how much your spouse owes and to whom.

Not Understanding the Tax Implications of Your Settlement

Nearly every decision and transaction that you make during the divorce process will be connected to some type of tax bill. From child support and alimony to retirement transfers and house sales, being familiar with the tax implications of your divorce agreement is a must. Unless you’re an accountant, it’s wise to hire one or a tax advisor. They can show you what makes the most sense for your financial security.

Not Taking Ownership of Your Divorce

This is not your friend or attorney’s divorce: it’s yours. No one will have to live with the decisions that you make other than you and your children. Keep this in mind as you go through the process. Now is not the time to be disengaged or act as someone else’s puppet.

Refusing to Compromise

Chances are, your spouse is not going to give you everything you want in the divorce. Acknowledge this from the beginning; it is essential to your divorce going smoothly. If you dig your heels in and refuse to compromise on anything, you will only be prolonging the process. Ultimately, that will cost you more money and energy.

Not Reviewing Divorce Paperwork

You may think that your attorney has everything covered, but mistakes do happen. Never sign anything without reading over it carefully, especially if it is drafted by the opposing attorney.

Not Setting an Accurate Post-Divorce Budget

No matter which way you cut it, your household income and assets will be smaller when the divorce is finalized. The bills that may have been no big deal when you were married could be crippling without two incomes. Because of this, it’s critical that you make an accurate post-divorce budget to ensure that you can stay afloat when the divorce is finalized.

Failing to Hire an Experienced Lawyer

If you think that one-size-fits-all when it comes to divorce lawyers, think again. Don’t hire an attorney because they are the cheapest one available or the only one you know. That’s a recipe for a disaster. You don’t have to hire the most expensive or well-known lawyer to ensure that you are protected during the separation process. Still, it’s essential that you hire a knowledgeable, experienced divorce attorney who will keep your best interest in mind every step of the way. For more guidance on how to keep your divorce process as smooth as possible, the Ellender Lawn Firm is here to help. Contact us today to learn more about your options.