Common Mistakes Fathers make in Divorce

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Common Mistakes Fathers make in Divorce

Lots of men are angry and hurt when faced with divorce papers. Due to these emotions, fathers make common mistakes in the divorce process and end up hurting their wallets, their children, even themselves. With a little forethought and preparation you can avoid these hazards and help make the transition as smooth as possible for you and your children.

Lots of guys for instance use litigation as a force for revenge. They drive up the cost as a tactic to try to make their ex crack. Everyone in the process suffers because of it and you come out looking like the bad guy. Some states even have laws against this. If you purposely make moves in order to drive up the cost you could be hit with a pretty hefty fine. Instead, think of your overall goals. Don’t be led astray by an attorney who would want to take part in such practices. Do your research and pick an attorney that’s right for you. Keep your emotions in check and don’t use the legal process as a vindictive device, or a way to throw a temper tantrum.

Another problem lots of men make is financially stretching themselves too thin. There is alimony, child support, and your own expenses. You could easily work yourself to death and not get anywhere in the process. Make sure you plan out your financial goals and strategy with an attorney, perhaps even an accountant. Having a financial game plan in place will help you manage your life properly. You’ll also want to consult with an attorney concerning your goals in regards to your children. Do you want joint custody, visitation or what? Know what you are aiming for, what is reasonable, what emotional state your ex is in and what she will likely go for. The most important thing of course is the children. But a lot of couples get caught in trying to hurt one another and the kids get caught in the middle.

That said, it’s also important not to give in too much and miss out on having the kids in your life. Children need love, support and attention from both parents regularly. Don’t compromise them out of your life. Do not use the children as leverage in any way. Not only is this despicable it will hurt your relationship with them. Lastly, don’t let child support payments pile up unattended. Or else, with penalties and fees, you’ll soon find yourself in the poor house. For more advice read, Fathers’ Rights: Hard-Hitting and Fair Advice for Every Father Involved in a Custody Dispute by Jeffery M. Leving and Kenneth A. Dachman, Ph.D.

Don’t go for the Aggressive Attorney when Divorcing

aggressive

Don’t go for the Aggressive Attorney when Divorcing

When we are hurt, or worried about assets or child custody, we may consider getting an aggressive attorney to try and safeguard our interests. It may even go beyond that. You could be hurt, and lashing out in revenge. Whatever your reasoning, don’t consider an aggressive attorney. If you think hiring a “pit bull” lawyer is going to help you, think again. The trouble is those “fighter” attorneys are just argumentative. They may be brash, pushy, arrogant, and rearing for a fight, but that doesn’t mean the judge is going to respect them. In fact, just the opposite may be true. Now, who you thought would be a good advocate turns out to be a liability. If the judge is biased against your attorney, it could definitely impact the case. Another issue is billing. These types of lawyers want to make as much as possible. That means billing you for as many hours as they can. Even if they have lower rates, they could get you in legal fees. Another consideration is the more issues you have to fight over the more expensive it is going to be. So a “pit bull” may drum up trouble just to pocket more of your money. It also means, the more your side fights, the more the other side has to. Lots of money gets siphoned away in bickering and legal proceedings, as a result. The marital estate dwindles, bad news for both of you.

If both attorneys are belligerent “fighters” this could further prolong matters. There is one thing you can say about divorce; those involved never cease to find ways to suck away your money. There are even attorney fee contributions to make things level, should your ex have less access to funds than you. Sanctions could also force you to pay your spouse, further depleting the estate. Some say aggressive attorneys can be found filing motions that don’t make any sense, and prolong the case in order to make sure they get the most out of it, financially. If you have children, you may be setting a bad atmosphere with your ex in which to co-parent in. The divorce will set the tone moving forward. You might make your ex angrier, so that they are terrible to deal with whenever they come to pick up the kids. Forget it if you want to switch weekends. If you and your ex’s lawyers get into a tit-for-tat situation, there is no way to predict when it might end. A short divorce time is about six months. But there are divorces that drag on for two, three, even five years. At that point both of you just want it over with. You want normalcy. You want a chance to start your life over again. But the longer the divorce is prolonged, the longer you will have to put that time off. Plus all the money you wasted. You wonder if it was worth it.

Seek out an attorney that is going to look after your best interests. It should be someone effective but also level headed. Look for an attorney that wants the divorce to be resolved in a fair and equitable manner. You want someone who will take what is important for you and fight for that. You don’t want someone who just wants to win. One strategy “pit bull” lawyers employ is to make things so expensive, that the other side gives up. But you both lose in this situation. Plus you both come off angry which will set the tone for any future relations, should children be in the mix. You may be bitter and worried that you won’t get the things you need, like custody or child support. But make sure you have someone who is going to do the right thing, not play dirty just to win. Be careful when you go to select an attorney, and don’t be afraid to walk away from one or get a new one, if yours turns out different than you thought. If you believe you have this type of attorney, make the switch sooner rather than later. Good communication, mutual respect and trust are essential to the client-attorney relationship. Look for these traits and your divorce will come off better than you thought. For more legal advice read, The Guide to a Smart Divorce- Experts’ advice for surviving divorce by Kurt Groesser, Jan Parsons, Kim Langelaar, and David Heckenbach Esq.

What to Expect When Going Through a Divorce

concept of section of property after divorce.

What to Expect When Going Through a Divorce

Getting a divorce can slam you with a mix of emotions. You can feel angry, frustrated, drained, confused and just plain overwhelmed. Many who are savvy in other aspects of their lives often feel completely out of their element when going through a divorce. They are just dropped into a new environment and expected to hit the ground running. Just realize that you are still on earth, not the surface of the moon. There are certain things to expect when going through a divorce, just as going through anything else. If you know what to expect, what you will be up against, you can prepare yourself and manage your expectations. This is one of the most important things you can do because it can safeguard you, and help you better transition. Those who don’t manage their expectations will often get steamrolled by the process. Then afterward they are stuck in a fog, bitter, crushed or the walking wounded. They have difficulty moving on and instead wallow in what has happened to them. A more natural and healthier transition is grieving, healing and then jumping in and exploring the new you. Here is what to expect when going through a divorce.

Don’t think that TV courtroom dramas are the real thing, they aren’t. The legal system can take forever. What’s more, the complexities may want to make you pull out your hair. Even an uncontentious divorce with no kids can take a while. Prepare yourself for the long haul. Take some time out for you, even if it’s just twenty minutes or a half hour a day to unwind. Read, watch something funny, or do whatever it is that relaxes you. Reach out to your social network. Seek out friends and family. Have good long talks with those who are close to you. That’s what they are there for. Expect to need to vent. This is a serious time in your life, and you will need support. It’s okay to reach out and talk to someone you feel close to. Usually, it takes a brave person to ask. But you’ll find that people can’t wait to help you. Expect to be collecting documentation. Make sure to have all of your paperwork, financial and otherwise in a row. Insurance, credit card statements, bank statements, investments, property and more have to be negotiated. Make sure to get a good divorce attorney who has a solid reputation and lots of experience. Do your homework. Expect to work closely with your lawyer and perhaps consider hiring other professionals such as a forensic accountant if you think that your soon-to-be ex-spouse is hiding assets.

Typically one person wants to work out the marriage, the other to leave it. Expect time to crawl by if you want out, and it to race by if you wanted to work things out. Everyone no matter what position they are in in a divorce feels as though they are at a disadvantage. Everyone feels knocked off kilter. Sometimes the one being dumped makes things drag along. At other times the one who wants out feels that they would give anything just to have it over. One may be in shock at this time. Or just in pain. Expect that some friends are just going to fall on your ex’s side, and be okay with that, or at least come to terms with it. That said, you can still have relationships with people you feel close to no matter whose friend they were first. Expect financial changes. Make a budget and stick to it. If you need help, seek out financial counseling, or free financial counseling in your area. Expect to be under a lot of stress and strain. You may absolutely hate your ex-spouse and something might slip out. Or you could lose it at some point. But it’s okay. It happens. We’re only human. People will understand. Give yourself a break. You may feel like a failure, but it just didn’t work out. It’s no one’s fault. Still, a sense of clarity and understanding will come to you if you just let it work its way to you naturally. If you have children, they will be affected by the divorce, study up on it, expect it and do the right thing. Be there for them. Studies have shown that children can be just as healthy, happy and well-adjusted as long as you help them adjust. When you start your new life and your new love life expect to make errors, and don’t wallow in them. Just keep it moving and some day it will be all behind you.  To have your own personal analyst in your pocket to help you through this trying time, pick up a copy of, Divorce Guide Vol. 1: The Pocket Therapist (The Pocket Therapist Series) by Dr. Mel Gill.

Should you see a Relationship Counselor or a Divorce Attorney?

Young troubled couple isolated on white.

Should you see a Relationship Counselor or a Divorce Attorney?

It’s hard to know sometimes when a marriage is over and when to give it a second chance. What is required is some knowledge, soul searching and some perspective. Some people wonder if their spouse will really change through counseling, or if the two can really revive the marriage or if it will be on life support until you pull the plug. The truth is that every relationship is unique and different. So how do you know if you should see a relationship counselor or a divorce attorney? There are many important things to evaluate before answering that question. First, let your mind go and think about the future. Daydream about it. Make it a happy place. Is your spouse there? Or are you doing something else without them? This little exercise can tip off how your subconscious feels about your spouse. If starting your own business, traveling to foreign lands or hiking the Himalayas sounds like heaven to you, you may want to see the divorce attorney. But if you can’t see it without your spouse, the counselor may be your best bet. If you are having marital issues that you think could be resolved, and it is one or two issues that are the stumbling block, give the counselor a try. Seeing a counselor sooner rather than later, when the problems are deep seeded or more pronounced, is better if possible. But most people wait until the problem is overwhelming.

Think about the negative emotions surrounding your marriage. Frustration, anger, hurt, jealousy and guilt can all inhabit a marriage. Are these emotions overwhelming? Can you get past them? Bitterness, resentment and rage are often things that couples can’t get past. See how deep seeded and how developed these emotions are, whether you are harboring them, your spouse or both. If you think your problems are solvable if a counselor gives you a new perspective and a new angle on how to attack them, certainly give the counselor a try first. But if one or both parties can’t get past deep seeded negative emotions than it’s time to give the lawyer a call. The end all be all of the matter is that neither professional will out and out tell you it’s time to divorce. That is simply a matter for one or both of you to decide. There are those couples who go through divorce proceedings only to end up together again. Then there are others who go to relationship counselors forever without making any headway. Remember that a divorce attorney’s retainer is usually refundable. Know that most people don’t know exactly what to do. But there are steps to help you try to figure it out. For another option, read Should I Stay Or Go?: How Controlled Separation (CS) Can Save Your Marriage by Lee Raffel.

Watch how you use Social Media when Divorcing

Heartbroken-Twitter

Before you badmouth your ex on your social media sites, you might want to double think that impulse. A quick little message that takes seconds to compose might play out differently in the courtroom. Most people when going through their first divorce know little about the legal system and how it interprets messages on social media sites. But what you write on Facebook, Twitter and whatever else can affect divorce proceedings. So make sure you watch how you use social media when divorcing. One important thing to remember is that social media isn’t private. So whatever you post be it written, a photo, anything and on any site can be used against you in court. Blocking your friends or your ex and anyone attached to them isn’t going to change this fact. Aaron Abramowitz an attorney in Los Angeles recently put it this way, “Posting anything on social media is like standing on your front lawn and shouting it.” Blocking your ex isn’t effective. They can just go on someone else’s and take screen shots of what you have posted there, to turn over to their attorney. It’s best to keep what you are feeling private. Lots of people are starting to use social media like therapy. But remember it’s really just a public square.

You may think deleting a post can make a difference, but that isn’t the case at all. In fact, it may make things worse. Deleting a post can be seen as if deleting evidence, according to Caroline Choi a divorce attorney for Lowenstein Brown. She tells her clients instead to keep quite on social media. The reason according to Choi “once it’s out there, it’s out there.” Abramowitz says that “It comes up in child custody cases a lot.” Say a teenage son or daughter has photos of underage drinking or drug use on their Facebook page. The ex’s divorce attorney may make you look like an unfit parent. So it’s key not only to watch what is happening on your social media sites but those of the children as well. You may see a son building a half pipe for his skateboarding hobby. But your ex’s attorney could spin it as allowing dangerous activity to occur at your home. Make sure both you and your children’s pages broadcast only sound parenting. Also check and make sure what you have on your social media reflects what you are saying in court. If you are telling a judge you don’t have enough money to live on but you have photos of your last trip to a resort in the Bahamas, the judge may not believe you. Just remember to be civil, project a wholesome look on your pages, and save your gripes and rants for your friends to share at a bar, on the couch with tea and tissues or around the dinner table with two pints of Ben and Jerry’s. For more advice on getting through your divorce, read Divorce The Drama! by Melissa Sindeband Dragon, Esq.