Divorce is the best of times and the worst of times for most people (parties, friends, and family) all at the same time. It is difficult to manage the day-to-day events and divorce process itself and work or do the events of daily life with the future unknown. In some respects, it is also positive for many people because it signals a life change. Over the course of years, we have observed five critical mistakes parties make that negatively impact their life during and after the divorce. Try to avoid them. Perhaps talk with your attorney about these matters.
The time a divorce takes is one major struggle for litigants. For the most part, the need for closure and emotional dynamics that arise in a divorce are not ones your attorney or judge can address in a real-time basis. For this reason, it will make your divorce process a better experience if you understand an attorney or judge cannot always solve the daily issues of life (a dispute about a child exchange or paying a particular bill) in real time. Their job is to work toward a fair and equitable division of your marital estate and the best interests of the children.
Lost in many cases is a case theme. Divorce is a hard process. However, to make the most of your lawyer’s skills and the court’s time, a divorce case needs a theme. This is nothing more than presenting the evidence as to why it is the children’s best interest that you have custody or share custody or why this is not in the children’s best interests. Related is why and how the court should divide assets in a fair and equitable way. If, for instance, a spouse has gambled away a significant part of the marital assets, this may call for an unequal division and may speak to custody. What a trial court judge does not want or find helpful is a list of complaints without solutions.
Presenting contrasts of good or bad, right or wrong, is not usually helpful to your case, it makes it take longer, and undermines a case theme and makes the case drag on. For example, painting the other spouse as a bad person usually is not to the end of what the trial court has to decide, but a way of addressing the emotions of the divorce. Being reasonable, consistent, and avoiding the pitfalls set out in this blog are what is usually the right course of litigation.
Missing evidence on custody and property issues. Today, debts and the best interests of the children are interwoven into complex life fact patterns. A “marital home” may be owned by someone else, such as a parent. Issues of legal custody may have never arise, such as a dispute about whether the children attend public or private school. However, to avoid litigation in the future and the emotional impact this may make, you should be clear with your attorney regarding all of the components of custody (parenting time, custody, legal custody matters, such as school and education) to avoid future litigation.
A life plan is a key part of moving past divorce. Ask yourself, “what is your plan?” and what will you do? and how will your life change after a divorce?” To maximize the answers, you may need to contact a financial planner, therapist, or the like to set plans and goals, but this is the starting point to make the most of the rest of your life after divorce.
This blog post is written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle divorce cases across the State of Indiana. It is not intended as legal advice or a solicitation for services. We hope it helps you to be a more informed litigant in your divorce case.