Not many people understand the step-by-step divorce proceedings, despite the increasing number of divorces lately. While being served with divorce papers can be confusing and stressful, it’s crucial to remain composed and sober, as any mistake may cost you time, money, and energy. This article discusses common mistakes to avoid during the divorce process to ensure your case goes smoothly.
1. Assuming Marital Assets are Split 50/50
When filing a divorce, don’t assume marital assets are split 50/50. Although there are cases where each partner gets 50% of marital property, cases often allow a judge’s discretion in assets division. The split can range between 50/50, 60/40, or sometimes wider. Usually, judges consider different aspects before coming to a decision. For instance, a partner with massive financial needs may require a more significant piece than an even split. So, it’s not easy to predict the property share or spousal support (if any) that petitioners would receive upon divorce decree. Financial requirements, appreciation of assets value after marriage, taxes, and alimony are all based on the judge’s discretion.
2. Not Obtaining Legal Advice
Even if a petitioner thinks they have all figured it out, it’s still crucial to seek legal advice. Family and friends who have gone through a divorce before can offer emotional support but not legal counsel. That’s so because they weren’t married to your ex-husband, and no two situations are similar.
So, never underestimate the importance of a family/divorce attorney. Divorces are complicated, especially when the petitioner is navigating alone. According to FreedomLaw.ca, petitioners need to consider hiring lawyers who work to understand the petitioners’ interests’ case nature and then represent them accurately. Lawyers also prevent case dismissals from missed deadlines and offer clients the guidance and customized support they need in and out of court.
3. Deciding You Don’t Need a Parenting Plan for Child Custody.
A parenting plan can come in handy in ensuring children’s custody rights are protected. The program can cushion children from the dangers of divorce and let them have a predictable routine and schedule while adjusting to life with divorced parents. While parents on good terms can work things out by themselves, a divorce decree can change spouses’ attitudes or behavior towards each other or their children. For this reason, it’s essential to document everything there is to the parenting plan at the time of divorce. This way, parents would have something to fall back on in case of any changes.
4. Hiding Marital Assets
Irrespective of how petitioners feel about their spouses, hiding or lying can complicate things further. While knowing what’s in someone’s mind when divorcing is difficult, being honest when disclosing income, assets, liabilities, and expenses are crucial. Petitioners need to avoid transferring marital assets that the other doesn’t know when anticipating divorce. Because when the court finds out, even after the divorce is finalized, it can re-open the case to consider the transferred or hidden assets, leaving the petitioner in a much worse situation.
5. Not Complying with Court Orders
After filing for a divorce, the family court may provide different orders relating to custody or alimony. Understanding in-depth these court orders and complying with them is essential in avoiding unnecessary and possibly costly complications in the case. It would also help the petitioner retain their position and avoid losing significant grounds in the divorce proceedings.
Sometimes court orders don’t consider the petitioner’s best interests. If this is the case, following the appropriate lawful channels to have a judge adjust the order is vital instead of deciding not to comply, which may worsen things.
6. Failure to Understand Child Support
Child support refers to the payment made to support children of separated or divorced parents while they are still minors or until they reach the age set by a court order or separation agreement. The parent without custody usually pays child support.
Often, child support is calculated per the state-mandated guidelines. The support intends to cover basic needs like shelter, clothing, and food. Child support does not cover extra costs (additional expenses) like medical insurance coverage, daycare, out-of-pocket medical costs, school tuition, extra-curricular activities, etc. So, parents need to agree on settling these additional expenses.
Mediation is one-way parents can use to reach a marital settlement agreement on the additional expenses. This way, they will avoid questions of who is responsible for this or that once the divorce is finalized.
Going through a divorce can be an emotional roller coaster ride, even with the most amazing and amicable ex-partners. While no divorce is easy, a qualified lawyer can make the process smoother and easy to navigate through. Lawyers compile documents, represent you accurately, follow up on the case, and ensure you avoid the common mistakes discussed in this article.