Divorce is often emotionally charged, tense, and draining in many ways. Unfortunately, the high-running emotions that can erupt during divorce compel some people to make serious mistakes that cost them dearly in divorce proceedings. If divorce seems likely for you in the near future in Columbia, MO, keep these following warnings in mind as you navigate the divorce process and remember that being completely honest in all of your proceedings is essential if you want to ensure an equitable divorce.
One: Never Attempt to Hide Assets
Divorce is expensive, and you may not relish the idea of splitting everything you own with your ex. However tempting it may be to try and hide your assets to guard them from division, do not succumb to these temptations. Attempting to conceal your assets could lead to a financial penalty once the court discovers your obfuscation. That penalty will likely far eclipse however much you could have saved by keeping your assets hidden.
Two: Don’t Start a New Relationship Right Away
Regardless of the reason behind your divorce, it is unwise to pursue a new relationship while your divorce proceedings are underway. If you start cohabitating with someone else, get pregnant, or get engaged, these events could significantly change the outcome of your divorce order. Wait until your divorce is completely finalized and you have a divorce order in hand before pursuing a new relationship.
Three: Don’t Dismiss Divorce Mediation
It may be difficult to think of negotiating with an ex who you believe has personally wronged you in any way. You may be eager to “fight it out” in court to ensure your ex doesn’t get a shred more than absolutely necessary by law. However, divorce litigation is very time-consuming, and you will need to pay legal fees for the entire duration of your court case. Divorce mediation allows you and your soon-to-be-ex to negotiate the terms of your divorce in a low-pressure environment under the supervision of a neutral, court-appointed mediator.
Four: Never Falsely Accuse Your Spouse of Domestic Violence
No matter what negative feelings you might harbor against your ex, never levy false accusations of domestic violence against them. Doing so can not only lead to criminal penalties falling on you for falsely accusing them, but it will also cause the court to view your side of the divorce in a much more negative light. If you have children with your ex, a false domestic violence charge against them can also irreparably damage your relationships with your kids.
Five: Don’t Refuse Therapy Options
You might think that your marriage is beyond saving and that marriage therapy would be pointless, but don’t write off any opportunities you may have to explore marriage counseling. If you staunchly refuse to do so, this will reflect negatively during your divorce case if your spouse showed a willingness to try counseling or therapy, but you did not.
Six: Never Use Your Children Against Your Ex
In any divorce case involving children, the court has a duty to rule in favor of protecting the children’s best interests. You may not agree with the court about what is best for the children, but you must abide by their ruling. Unfortunately, some divorcing parents attempt to leverage their children against their exes for personal reasons. Do not threaten to run away with the kids or otherwise violate your custody agreement. Also, be cautious with your words; try to avoid negatively influencing your children’s opinions about their other parent. Doing any of these things could damage your future relationships with your kids and may reflect poorly upon your side of the divorce case.
Seven: Don’t Delay Unnecessarily
Some divorcing couples try to avoid divorce proceedings around holidays or other special times. While choosing the right moment to divorce is important, it’s best to avoid unnecessary delays. You might want to wait until after the holidays to start the divorce process, but if you and your spouse wind up spending the whole time fighting anyway, waiting could cause more damage. The extra time spent fighting may also increase the chances of heading to litigation rather than mediation and drawing out the entire process in the long run.
Eight: Never Attempt to Run Up Debt to “Stick It” to Your Ex
If you’re divorcing in Columbia, it’s vital to remember that the Missouri family court system generally aims to ensure as close to an equitable divorce as possible when considering all of the facts and evidence in play in your case. Knowing that you and your spouse will split your debt in divorce may tempt you to run up your credit card balances and take on additional debt in the hope of forcing your ex to pay half of it. However, it is relatively easy for your spouse’s attorney to show proof that you did this intentionally by pulling up purchase histories, account statements, and other records that show you only did this once you and your spouse decided to divorce. This will absolutely reflect poorly on you during divorce negotiations.
Nine: Don’t Accept an Early Settlement Just to Get It Over With
You may want to finalize your divorce as soon as possible just so you can move on, but don’t be tempted to accept an early settlement offer just to get the issue out of your way. There is no reason to sacrifice your future financial security just to avoid the stress of divorce proceedings. Consult with a Columbia divorce attorney and take time to gather all of the financial documents you need to ensure an equitable divorce case.
Ten: Don’t Let Your Emotions Cloud Your Judgment
Emotions can be difficult to manage at times, and divorce is an incredibly stressful and emotional event for anyone who experiences it. This can cause some people to levy false accusations, violate custody agreements, falsify information, and make other grave mistakes at a moment’s notice due to their desperation and emotional exhaustion. Do your best to pay close attention to your Columbia divorce attorney’s advice and refrain from making emotionally charged decisions that may come back to haunt you later.
Divorce is never easy, and every divorce case in Columbia is unique. Hiring an experienced Columbia divorce attorney is one of the best things you can do to streamline the divorce process and ensure your future financial security. Your attorney can also provide you with personalized advice unique to your situation to help you navigate your divorce case more effectively.