Going through a divorce is an overwhelming experience. If you are going through divorce or have gone through it, I am sure you will agree that the initial sensation is of being flooded by emotions, things to handle and tough, very tough decisions to make. Here are five very big mistakes, often made by anyone going through separation or divorce, and some tips that can spare you some bad decisions and keep you on the right track:
Making Decisions Without Fully Understanding the Implications:
Read as much as you can, go to free (or paid) consultations with various professionals (mediators, attorneys, divorce coaches and more). The more information you have regarding your rights and options, the better decisions you will be able to make. Yes, the easiest thing to do is let someone else handle it for you and make decisions for you. It is easy to take advice from a friend of a friend who just went through divorce, but you want to be fully aware of your options -- you want to fully understand the implications of every step. If you do not fully understand and fully control every step you make along the way, you, and you only, will have to live with the real-life consequences. Be as informed as you possibly can.
Losing Control of Your Divorce:
Do not let your attorney act on your behalf without fully informing you. I have heard too many times from clients that their lawyers were making decisions for them without consulting them or, even worse, against what they have requested. Not everyone does, but some do. You need to stay in control of what is going on. You are the client and this is your life we are talking about. If this divorce spirals out of control, who will pay the price? You.
Acting Out of Anger:
Court battles will not teach your soon-to-be ex a lesson. Trust me. And if you go that route, it will teach both of you a lesson: nobody goes dancing out of court. I am not talking about extreme cases, where parents are denied of their rights, child support is not paid or a child's welfare is at stake. I am talking about the average, not-getting-along, angry-with-each-other, someone-cheated-on-someone, it-didn't-work-out-at-all kind of couple. Make the right choice -- stay away from unnecessary drama and stick to the facts: what can and cannot be done, what are your legal rights, how do you handle this sensibly and spare your kids, your job, your sanity. Feeling angry? While you may have excellent reasons, don't take that to court. Take that to a great therapist.
Settling for Less Than You Need or Deserve:
While settling is settling, you do not want to underestimate your expenses and what you need in order to be comfortable within your means. If you are the payer, you do not want to commit to more than you can afford. Be fair to yourself and to your soon-to-be ex. Everybody needs to live, your kids need to have a decent life and you need to make a diligent plan for your projected overhead when you lead separate lives. Never settle too low, and never commit too high.
And last but not least: Do not lose yourself.
Do not lose your head. Breath, think, research, plan, hire professionals, work smart and work with a budget. You can make good decisions, no matter how bad things may seem right now. While you may feel flooded, a lot of good decisions are in your hands to make.