Whether the process was initiated by your or your spouse, dealing with a divorce can be a difficult and frustrating time. In addition to having a major impact on your personal life, it can also have an impact on your financial life.
Many couples want to get the process over with as quickly as possible, but it’s important that you proceed with caution between the time the divorce papers are filed and the time the divorce is finalized—and even into the months beyond.
The actions you take during this time can have a major effect on the outcome of the divorce, so it’s vital that you avoid making these four common mistakes:
- Don’t move out, especially if you have children.
If you want to get a favorable outcome in the custody battle, it’s vital that you stay in the home that you share with your children for as long as possible. Even if the living situation is difficult, you must make an effort to stay at home and continue providing for and looking after your children. Leaving and taking up residence at a hotel or with a friend can create powerful evidence against you that your spouse and her attorney can use in court.
- Avoid talking about the divorce with coworkers, mutual friends, or on social media.
Divorces are private affairs, but it can be difficult to suffer in silence. You may be tempted to talk about the divorce with people you see on a frequent basis, including your coworkers and friends you share with your spouse. You also may want to vent on social media. But doing so can be used as evidence against you in court, especially if the statements are recorded or taken out of context.
- Create an inventory of marital assets right away.
Depending on how long you were married, you may have built up a large number of assets with your spouse. In fact, you may have so many that you can’t immediately remember them all. Failing to remember assets can hurt you when it’s time to divide them. Things like credit union accounts, bonds, life insurance policies, business ownership interests, and tax credits are commonly forgotten assets that can be unfairly awarded to your spouse if you forget about them.
- Contact an attorney as soon as possible.
Even if you are still on good speaking terms with your spouse and living together peacefully, don’t assume that she hasn’t already contacted an attorney. Having a lawyer on your side is the only way to level the playing field, and the sooner you have one in your corner, the better.