If you’re on the precipice of divorce, it can feel like you’re staring into the great unknown, a.k.a your future. Though it’s natural to feel uncertain, being informed can save you from common pitfalls and set you up for success during divorce.
Knowledge is power, so in that spirit, below you'll find some of the biggest mistakes people make early in the divorce process, and ways to avoid them.
Rushing the Process divorce mistakes
No one benefits from making snap decisions during a legal proceeding. Rushing to conclude the process as fast as possible, ignoring the long-term ramifications of anything you agree to and not understanding fully the legal or financial aspects of a divorce, lead up to one of the biggest early mistakes you can make.
How to Avoid: Prepare in advance with education (hello Divorce Planner coaching and digital resources!) and practice patience. Divorce is a life-changing decision, and it deserves due attention to details. Take time to understand each step, its implications, and seek professional guidance to navigate it smoothly.
Slow down and think through each decision using my personal favorite, the 5/5/5 method. How will the affect me in 5 days, 5 weeks, 5 months, etc.
Unawareness about the extent of individual and shared assets, debts, and overall financial history can put you at a significant disadvantage during asset allocation negotiations.
How to Avoid: Dive deep into your financial records to get a clear picture of all your assets. Having a thorough understanding of your financial reality—like real estate assets, pension plans, joint debts, etc. is your secret weapon during divorce. This monthly budget calculator is your best resource for the best up to date information about your financial realities.
Not Setting Realistic Goals
Neglecting to set practical divorce goals—financially, personally, or legally can cloud your negotiation strategy.
How to Avoid: At the onset of the process, give thought to your long-term outlook. What do you want your life to look like post-divorce? Use these insights to inform your negotiation plan. Understanding what you want your next chapter to look like is like having a North star to guide you through the process.
Making Emotional Decisions Over Logical Ones
Allowing emotions to dictate decisions rather than logical considerations often hinder fair negotiations.
How to Avoid: Understand that divorce is not just emotional but also a practical transition. Separate the emotional side of the process from the business side. Embracing emotional support—like therapy or counseling, can help keep feelings in check, enabling sensible decision-making. When you're feeling emotionally overwhelmed create space to pinpoint what the trigger could be (talking about money, having to move, etc.) and identify what those feelings are (fear, frustration, anger, etc.).
Choosing the Wrong Legal Representation
Hiring a divorce attorney or mediator without scrutinizing their experience, expertise, or alignment with your goals can be a costly mistake.
How to Avoid: Choose your attorney wisely, one who specializes in divorce or family law, aligns with your personality, and understands your long-term goals. Check out this post about when should you start booking consultations with divorce attorneys that details what to ask and how to assess if they are the right fit for you.
Neglecting Your Physical and Mental Health
Preoccupied with managing paperwork and emotions, people often disregard their physical health, nutrition, and mental health.
How to Avoid: Start investing in your well-being. Regularly exercise, follow a proper diet, manage stress and seek professional mental help if needed. Look, even in the best of circumstances divorce is really emotionally tolling. This post about navigating feels of grief and shame during divorce offers great tips you can implement today.
Not Thinking About Life After Divorce
Being so focused on the process, many forget to prepare for life post-divorce.
How to Avoid: You have a big life ahead of you after your divorce, so start imagining and preparing for what that will look like. Think about your future living situation, your financial reality as a single person, adjustments you'll need to make to your retirement plan, or how you will coparent if children are involved.
Use these tips as a roadmap for your divorce journey. Remember, The Divorce Planner was created to provide you with accessible tools, resources, and expert guidance, enabling you to achieve a bright future.
Embrace this challenging time, knowing that it is just a phase, and trust that on its other side you'll emerge stronger and confident, ready for your best next chapter in life.