Divorce can be a tough time filled with emotional ups and downs that can cloud your mood and judgement, so it's easy to make mistakes that can cost you in the long run. I get it because I've been there!
Here are the BIGGEST mistakes you want to avoid when preparing or going through a divorce:
1. Not Hiring the Right Lawyer
One of the biggest mistakes people make during divorce is not hiring the right lawyer. Sure, your cousin's friend's sister might have gotten a great divorce settlement with her lawyer, but that doesn't mean that lawyer is right for you. You need to find a lawyer who understands your goals and priorities, and who has experience working on cases like yours.
BIG NO-NO Don't just hire the first lawyer you come across on Google!
Do your research (ask friends, family and co-workers for referrals), read reviews, and make sure you feel comfortable with the lawyer before you sign on the dotted line. Make sure to get your questions together in advance of meeting perspective legal reps. Download The Divorce Planner's freebie, 24 Questions To Ask A Divorce Attorney Or Mediator. It give you a great starting point and place to keep all your notes when booking consultations.
After all, this is the person who will be representing you during one of the most important times of your life.
2. Getting Emotional on Social Media
Another common mistake people make during divorce is getting emotional on social media. I get it, you're going through a tough time and you want to vent to your friends and family. But the last thing you want to do is air your dirty laundry online. Online posts are like tattoos, they are forever!
Not only can emotional social media posts make you look bad in court, but they can also damage your relationships with friends and family members who might feel caught in the middle. Look, it's easy to want to lash out for a quick steam release but the long term repercussions just aren't worth it.
If you're emotionally overwhelmed, consider taking a break from social media if you need to, or at the very least, avoid posting anything that you might regret later.
When in doubt, don't post!
3. Not Understanding Your Finances
Divorce can have a major impact on your finances, but many people make the mistake of not understanding their finances before and during the divorce process. You need to know your assets, your debts, and your income, so you can negotiate a fair settlement with your ex.
Take some time to review your bank statements, investment accounts, and credit reports. Make a budget to understand your expenses (check out The Divorce Planner's easy to use monthly budget calculator! It walks you though exactly what to do and does all the math for you!), and get a handle on any joint debts you might have with your ex.
Once you get on top of all of your financial details, don't be afraid to enlist the help of a financial planner or a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA). There are easy and low cost ways to work with financial professionals. Check with your bank about what free financial planning services they offer. If you have a retirement account through your job, reach out to HR about setting a meeting with a representative from the company plan.
4. Not Taking Care of Yourself
Finally, one of the biggest mistakes people make during divorce is not taking care of themselves. It's easy to get caught up in the stress and drama of the divorce process, but it's important to prioritize your own well-being.
Take care of your physical and emotional health by eating well, getting enough sleep, and exercising regularly. Seek out support from friends and family, or consider seeing a therapist or counselor. And don't forget to treat yourself once in a while - whether that means a spa day or a night out with your friends.
I hope you take these four things and run with them!