A divorce is a stressful experience that nobody wishes to go through. As a West Palm Beach Divorce Attorney, I have seen it all when it comes to the highs and lows of getting a divorce. The tone of the relationship is not always a good indicator of how smooth or rocky the divorce proceedings will go. However, in my years of experience, there is some tried and true advice that I always give my clients when it comes to dealing with a divorce. Here my top five things I recommend avoiding when getting a divorce:
1. Not Seeking Help
Research has widely shown that experiencing a divorce can be one of the most stressful experiences in a person’s life. There is so much to deal with from financial to emotional, kids to pets, material possessions to sacred memories. Processing the experience and moving towards a very different future is a lot for one person to handle alone.
It is essential to process the divorce with somebody that can listen to you objectively, such as a mental health counselor or a pastoral figure. Having an outlet for expressing your feelings can alleviate tension that may otherwise be misdirected or dealt with in less constructive ways, such as substance abuse.
2. Forgetting to Update Legal Documents
Many married couples often have their partner as a beneficiary for financial accounts, wills, or trusts. Those documents must be updated to reflect a change in your wishes about where the money should go instead – such as a new spouse or other family members.
3. Getting the Kids Involved
Kids often struggle with divorce, and too many parents make the mistake of intentionally or unintentionally adding to that stress. Sharing too many personal details or deliberately speaking poorly about the other parent can be confusing and traumatizing for a child. Additionally, any concerns about this type of behavior can affect custody decisions, as well.
4. Generating Debt
It is not uncommon for me to see a couple dig themselves deep into debt for a variety of reasons. People may need to spend the money to move on with their lives, such as the cost of a new home and everything that comes with it. I have also seen situations where an individual will intentionally run up debt, assuming that they will not have to be responsible for it after the divorce. In reality, debt is often split 50/50, so it can come back to hurt you in the long run. I always recommend looking for interim housing options so that people do not have to rush into a decision that puts them in a precarious financial situation.
5. Playing the Victim
Divorce is an emotional process, but people have to understand that trying to play the victim can hurt their case. Some people are too overwhelmed to understand the possible implications of not taking control, and others may feel it was not their decision; therefore, they do not want to play along. Regardless of the reason, a victim mentality can draw out the proceedings, exacerbate stress, and drive up costs.