Photo of Nathalie E. A. Paluch and Peter A. Lauzon

Common Mistakes When Thinking About Divorce

The period of time leading up to a decision to seek a divorce can be extremely difficult emotionally. This means that it is easy for those deciding to file for divorce to fail to think some matters through properly, which can lead to mistakes and regret later on.

First, it is a good idea to speak to a financial planner before the divorce process begins. Taking the time to think about the short and long term aspects of your financial situation before conversations about property division occur can prevent many problems later on. For example, it may seem like a good idea to fight for ownership of the marital home, but it may be too expensive for one person to maintain by himself.

Second, before telling your spouse that you want to file for divorce, collect as much information about your assets, financial and otherwise, as you can. This may include not only a list of furniture and other household items, but also statements for bank accounts, retirement accounts and even credit reports. As part of this process, it is also a good idea to open your own checking and savings accounts. Although some may see this as an act of deception, it is simply necessary to protect your interests.

Third, in the time leading up to your decision to divorce, make sure that you have a friend or family member with whom to have conversations about your situation. Again, divorce is highly emotional time and it may sometimes be difficult to accept that a particular course of action is in your best interest. It helps to have someone who is able to keep you focused on the issues at hand.

Fourth, it is important for those deciding to file for divorce to reflect upon the reasons for their decision. Deciding to divorce your spouse should not be a knee-jerk reaction to small problems or minor annoyances. Your reasons for being unhappy in your relationship may well have more to do with aspects of your life other than your spouse. Even if the reasons for your decision are clear, being able to articulate them, if only to yourself, will help you move on to the next stage of life without regrets.

Finally, those who are considering divorce should speak to an experienced divorce attorney. A divorce attorney can help you understand the process and provide you with the guidance you need to make a fresh start.