A very small percentage of divorce cases actually proceed and end in trial. Even though many cases initially have significantly contentious issues, 95% of them will eventually settle.
The quicker and more thoroughly you and your spouse are able to disengage your personal feelings about the divorce from that which both of you know is the best and most equitable result, the faster and easier a settlement will be reached.
Listed below are common mistakes that make obtaining a settlement more difficult:
- Making secret preparations to leave. Whether or not you make preparations to leave with or without the help of an attorney, financial records and an inventory of your property will need to be gathered. Sometimes this is done secretly in the belief that an advantage or more control over the situation may be gained. However, these preparation steps done in advance will eventually come to light and the trust between your spouse and you will be damaged.
- Neglecting to talk about the divorce. If the divorce is being initiated by you, it is important for you to be honest and direct concerning your plans. Simply deciding to wait for your negative actions or feelings to be discerned usually leads to a costlier divorce because the spouse feels he or she must have an attorney examine every document and action.
- Making derogatory or nasty comments. If you and your spouse have children, a divorce will not end the relationship you have with your spouse. On the contrary, it simply changes the relationship to a different type but ensures that contact and cooperation are still important and required. Great benefit for all the parties is obtained by refusing to take an adversarial path.
- Admitting past sins. While it may be true that confessing prior betrayals (such as an affair) and mistakes may make you feel better and help you forgive yourself, doing so will only increase your spouse’s anger. Before you unburden yourself, consider the likely response from your spouse, and prepare accordingly.
- Rushing new relationships. If you begin a new relationship prior to the finalization of your divorce, you may be surprised by the extent of jealousy exhibited by your spouse. Initiating new relationships while your divorce negotiations are still pending is a sure way to increase the probability of a difficult divorce.
- Hiding assets and income. Most types of assets and income leave behind a paper trail or some other proof that they exist. Many methods are available to private investigators to discover this proof, and a judge will often punish someone who conceals assets. Refrain from doing so.
- Mishandling credit cards and bank accounts. An individual may try to take advantage of his or her spouse by accumulating credit card purchases or withdrawing from a joint bank account more than his or her fair share. Usually you are better off discussing in advance with your spouse how to divide joint accounts and take care of credit card balances.
- Being stingy with financial information. Your divorce will be more expensive and time-consuming if you rely on your Richmond family law firm attorney to provide and obtain general financial information.
- Being your own worst enemy. Your divorce will be delayed and, if lawyers are involved, more expensive if you engage in detrimental actions such as dishonesty, distrust, aggression, and non-negotiation. Make your best effort to not let your feelings drive your actions. If you find that conflict is on the increase when it should be on the decrease, take a good look at your actions and refrain from automatically blaming your spouse.
- Continuing the battle. If you and your spouse have minor children, it is possible to continue court battles to modify parenting and support plans. However, continuing to fight once the divorce has been settled may be both emotionally and financially devastating, and should be avoided at all costs.