By: Mary Ellen Flynn, Attorney at Law
The end of a marriage is an emotional time. From property division to child custody and more, there’s a lot stake. Amid all of the turmoil, it can be easy to fall into traps and have lapses in judgment. There are a number of things that you can and should do to make the process go as smoothly as possible. If you’ve separated from your spouse or are planning to, here are four common divorce mistakes to avoid:
Trying to do everything on your own without counsel.
As attorneys, we understand that paying for legal fees can be difficult, but the complexity that can come with going through a divorce is something you shouldn’t navigate alone and is an expense you should plan to incur. There is a misconception people have that, because they can’t afford to have legal representation throughout the entire divorce process, they can’t have any representation. But in Maryland, attorneys can be retained on a limited scope basis, for specific reasons, and can assist you with understanding the process even before someone files in court, knowing what your legal rights are, how to navigate a specific situation, and can provide you with information about other resources available to you. Remember that attorneys want to help and advocate for you, so be open and honest with the attorney you meet with so that you utilize your time wisely and he or she can address your concerns.
Letting your emotions make your decisions for you.
Divorce is emotional. Most of our clients feel as if their entire world is being flipped upside down and they face a wide range of emotions each day. You will have to make difficult decisions and deal with new uncertainties that can have a major impact on your life. Going through a divorce isn’t just about getting through the current situation, but also about figuring out what your future holds. This means working through the emotions you are having so that you can make informed, educated decisions that best suit you in the long term, and not just for now. We always recommend that our clients take care of themselves, including their mental health. As your attorney, we will tell you things that you don’t want to hear or you don’t like, but that is our job. Divorce can be somewhat isolating because friends seem to take sides or become scarce. Your family can suddenly become polarizing and create more negativity and stress for you than necessary. Get a team of professionals, including an attorney and therapist, who will work in conjunction to get you through your divorce and on a path towards a better life.
Bringing your kids into your divorce.
While your children know that the two of you aren’t staying together, remember that your ex will always be their parent. It is your job as a parent to ensure your children know that they are not responsible for your divorce. Both parents should be assuring their children to talk about their feeling with them, a teacher, a family member, a mentor, or someone that they trust who will listen. Many children feel the need to protect their parents because they see them upset and hurting. But just because they may not be showing it, your children will be impacted and you should take steps to not make it even more difficult for your children to process the divorce. Don’t bash your ex in front of your children; this includes their family, as well. If you have an issue with your ex, talk to your attorney about what can be done to address your concerns, vent to your therapist or a good friend, but don’t air your divorce issues to your children. Also, don’t use your children as a means to obtain information on your ex. Find a way to rise above your emotions for the sake of your children and let them work through their own feelings and come to a good place as they process the divorce.
Don’t compare your divorce with what your friends or coworkers have gone through.
Your marriage is ending and what your friends have been through or their outcome has absolutely no impact on your divorce. While being competitive can be natural for the majority of us, resist the urge to become a player in the game of competing divorces. There are so many factors that are taken into account that lawyers often say no two divorces are alike. Comparing your divorce to any else’s only creates more stress and further complicates your life, so don’t. There will be many people who want to tell you all about their divorce and what you should and shouldn’t do, but don’t be afraid to say ‘thanks but no thanks’ and move forward on your own path.
There’s a lot you can do to prevent your divorce from being more painful than it needs to be. If you have questions or need compassionate legal advice about an impending divorce, please contact us today.
About Andalman & Flynn, P.C.: Andalman & Flynn, P.C. serves clients throughout Maryland and the District of Columbia, offering compassionate, quality service and winning representation across a broad range of legal areas. With a concentration on disability benefits law and family law, the firm focuses on cases that impact the rights of everyone, and they are there for clients when responsive legal help is most critical. For more information about Andalman & Flynn, call (301) 563-6685.