Even in the best circumstances, divorces can be difficult. It drastically changes the couple’s life, their family dynamic, and how they view their relationship.
Most people going through a divorce have very little to no experience with the legal system. As a result, they are unfamiliar with divorce laws and processes, and their lack of knowledge can lead to expensive mistakes. Therefore, it’s essential to get reliable information from a trusted source, such as an experienced divorce attorney.
Before starting the divorce process, it’s ideal to be aware of some of the common mistakes people make along the way. Today, we will take a closer look at the errors you should avoid if you’re going through a divorce.
Not Educating Yourself Before Beginning the Divorce Process
As soon as divorce is a possibility, you should begin to familiarize yourself with Alabama’s basic laws and the divorce process. By neglecting to educate yourself, you can make unintentional mistakes before your separation that can negatively affect the outcome of your divorce. Also, if there are specific issues that you know will be part of your divorce, such as child custody, retirement benefits, or alimony, you should research those ahead of time.
Failing to Get Your Finances in Order Before Your Divorce
Alabama is an equitable distribution state. In an equitable distribution state, the courts will evaluate each spouse’s contributions to the marriage (monetary and non-monetary) as well as each spouse’s ability to earn income after the divorce. Be sure to make copies of financial records, bank statements, assets, retirement accounts, wills, and other important documents and keep them in a secure location.
Assuming Your Divorce Will Be Uncontested
Most couples would prefer to have their divorce quick and easy. No one wants to deal with the extra stress, time, and money that comes with a contested divorce. However, no matter how amicable your split is, it’s important to keep in mind that you may not be able to agree with your spouse on every issue, and the courts may end up being involved. Be sure to hire a divorce attorney who can handle your divorce no matter which path it takes.
Failing to Think About Your Children
The most important thing you can do right now for your family is to support your children and make sure they do not get put in the middle of any conflict between you and your spouse. Also, if you are seeking custody of any kind as part of your divorce, make sure you contact your children regularly and keep all parenting time appointments and visitation.
In Alabama, courts use the “best interest of the child” standard when determining custody in divorces involving children. Failing to keep in contact with your children during the divorce process can be used against you in court.
Not Being the First to File
There are advantages to being the first party to file. By filing first, you become the plaintiff and your spouse the defendant. As the plaintiff, you have the advantage of being on the offense and setting the tone of the divorce. Not only that, you will get to go first in almost every step of the process and will have the opportunity to ask for temporary custody and support first.
Not Hiring Your Own Attorney
Even if you have an uncontested divorce, you should have your own attorney. By hiring your own attorney, you are ensuring that you have a legal expert on your side that will do everything they can to protect you and your interests. People often trust that their spouse’s attorney will be fair, which isn’t always the case. Your spouse’s attorney has an obligation only to your spouse. Always get advice from your own attorney, and don’t sign anything until your attorney has reviewed it.
Make sure you hire someone you trust to guide you, but you must also make sure that you are not allowing them to make decisions for you. It is their job to guide you, but remember, you are the one who has to live with the consequences of those decisions.
Avoid Costly Divorce Mistakes. Let the Experts at Brackin & Johnson Help!
If you know that divorce is imminent, the sooner you start planning, the better. You never want to rush into the divorce process unprepared. The best option available to you is to hire an experienced divorce attorney to help you get prepared.
The legal experts at Brackin & Johnson have provided family law representation to clients in Baldwin County, Alabama, for over 40 years. We will do everything we can to resolve disputes through negotiation and mediation. However, if it is in your best interest to go to trial, we will aggressively fight for you.
If you need an expert divorce attorney, contact Brackin & Johnson today. Let us help you make this process as seamless as possible.