The breakup of a marriage is always an emotional process, which means that many people going through a divorce let their decision-making become clouded by strong feelings. While this is understandable, it can have a negative impact on your legal case and the overall outcome of your divorce.
Fortunately, knowing about some of the most common mistakes people make can help you avoid pitfalls and strive for the best possible result in your divorce proceeding.
Divorce: A Crucial Time to Make Good Decisions
While every divorce is unique, the major mistakes that people tend to make during the divorce process happen time and again. Listed below are five of the most common decisions that could end up negatively influencing the outcome of legal matters that relate to your divorce, like child custody, child support, alimony, and property distribution.
- Mistake #1: Not contacting an experienced family law attorney
Whether you or your spouse has initiated a separation or divorce, it’s important that you be proactive and contact a lawyer as soon as possible for help with your case. Obtaining a divorce requires that you fill out complex legal paperwork and adhere to many filing procedures and deadlines, and missing or mishandling any of these elements can derail your legal case. In addition, a good divorce lawyer will act as your ally, confidante, and advocate throughout the process, which can be a long and lonely one if you decide to go it alone. Your lawyer can use their expertise and knowledge of the law to assess the strength of your case and argue on your behalf before the court, which can have a positive impact on the final outcome of your case. Under certain circumstances — for example, if you have no children and no property together, and both parties agree the marriage is broken beyond repair — you may be eligible for a simplified divorce proceeding, which you may be able to navigate on your own without help from an attorney. For more information about simplified divorce, visit our divorce practice area page.
- Mistake #2: Preventing your spouse from seeing the children
When courts in Florida determine custody, one factor they consider is which parent is more likely to accommodate the other in order to create frequent and meaningful contact with the children. If you try to deny the other parent access to the children before or during your divorce case, the judge will probably form an impression that you’re not that accommodating parent — and that’s the best case scenario, since you could be charged with parental kidnapping or abduction for denying your spouse their parental rights without the support of a court order.Of course, if your spouse or their home environment poses an immediate danger to your children, or if there are concerns over violence, drinking, or drug abuse, this can create a compelling reason for the court to deny your spouse the right to unsupervised time with the children. However, because the legal issues surrounding these types of circumstances can be complicated, it’s extremely important to consult an experienced family law attorney before you try to take the children away from your spouse.
- Mistake #3: Talking badly about your spouse in front of the children
Divorce is a traumatic process, and it’s normal to have negative feelings about your spouse, especially at the outset. However, it’s important to resist the urge to criticize your spouse in front of your children, especially when your spouse is not around. Not only can this prove harmful to your children — who may still feel strong attachment to the other parent and may resent you for speaking ill of them — but if the judge in your case finds out about your actions, the impact on your custody battle could be disastrous. Even if you find out that the other spouse is bad-mouthing you in front of your children, resist the urge to “fight fire with fire” and respond in kind. By taking the high road, not only are you looking out for your children’s well-being, but you’re demonstrating to the court that you’re the better influence and the more level-headed decision-maker compared to your spouse.
- Mistake #4: Disobeying a court order
If there is a temporary court order in place regarding child custody and timesharing or child support, you should never violate the terms of the order — regardless of how unfair you think the order is. Violating a court order can result in consequences up to and including jail time, and it will almost certainly damage your case. If you believe a court order is unfair, it’s important to speak with a lawyer who can argue on your behalf before the judge and convince them why the terms of the order are unreasonable.
- Mistake #5: Not getting your divorce right the first time
Divorce can be an exhausting process, and it’s understandable that many people simply want to get it over with. However, you should never agree to unfavorable terms for timesharing, child support, or alimony with the expectation that you’ll be able to modify them later. Although it is possible to change the court’s order with a petition for modification, this process is often more complex and costly than if you had simply gotten things right the first time. Rather than trying to amend timesharing, child support, and alimony agreements later, it’s important to work with an experienced attorney who will advocate for you and work to get you the best possible outcome from the beginning. At the Devolder Law Firm, we excel at helping our clients create forward-thinking settlement agreements and parenting plans to minimize the need for later modifications, which is a crucial step toward minimizing future legal costs and headaches.
Of course, this list of mistakes is far from all-inclusive, and there are many other ways in which not understanding the law or not making informed decisions could lead to a negative outcome in your family law matter. Only an experienced family law attorney can examine the details of your specific situation and offer expert advice based on their knowledge of the law and your circumstances.
The Devolder Law Firm: Divorce Lawyers for Clients in New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, and the Tampa Bay Area
Divorce is rarely easy, but it doesn’t need to be an uphill battle. For people with family law needs in the Tampa Area, the Devolder Law Firm is here to offer compassionate, experienced legal representation. When you work with the Devolder Law Firm, we’ll act as your ally and advocate throughout your divorce process, including helping you to file for divorce, resolve custody and visitation issues, obtain protection from violence and abusive behavior, and work out the financial issues that arise during the divorce process.
To contact the Devolder Law Firm team and get started today, call our offices at (813) 773-8233 or fill out our brief online contact form and we’ll get in touch with you right away to schedule an initial consultation.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.