No one looks forward to learning that someone they once loved has filed for divorce. Even if you knew it was coming, the reality of holding divorce papers in your hand can trigger a wide range of emotion. Along with a flood of grief and anger, you may feel stress and uncertainty about what to do next.
This uncertainty often leads to mistakes. Here, we caution against some of the most common errors we have seen as divorce attorneys.
Mistake 1: Making rash decisions
The early stages of divorce are critical, and the stress of receiving a petition can compromise your judgment. A kneejerk reaction to a divorce petition may be disastrous for you and your loved ones. Take a few days to breathe, regain control of your emotions, and then consider your next steps.
Mistake 2: Ignoring the petition
A divorce is not a problem that will go away on its own. Your divorce papers will indicate a date by which you are required to respond; do not wait until it is too late to protect your rights. The best way to understand your options and deadlines is to speak with a lawyer.
Mistake 3: Getting your children involved
If you find impending divorce stressful, imagine the toll it is taking on your children. Do not use parenting time or child support as leverage to get back at your spouse or influence the outcome of your divorce. Agreeing with your spouse to put children first will benefit everyone involved.
Mistake 4: Letting anger take over
When you are hurt or stressed, it is normal to feel resentment or anger toward your former spouse. However, too many people allow that anger to drive their decisions. As USA Today points out, seeking revenge on your spouse is not only destructive - it's expensive. Attorney fees can skyrocket when you put payback over practical concerns.
Mistake 5: Failing to consult an attorney
Responding to a divorce petition without a lawyer puts you at a distinct disadvantage from the start, even if you and your spouse have agreed to an amicable split. While it is important that you act promptly, do not rush when choosing a lawyer to represent you. The right attorney will make you feel comfortable and put you I in control of your case.
At Sowald Sowald Anderson Hawley & Johnson, our attorneys have been providing individuals and families with reliable divorce counsel for more than 150 collective years. To pursue the best possible outcome with the minimal possible drama, we encourage you to contact us for an initial consultation.