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How to avoid the most common and costly mistakes during divorce

Ask 100 divorced couples in California if they have any regrets from their divorces and some will certainly say "yes." Many believe that if they had made different decisions, both the process and aftermath would have been less stressful for them and their children. So what are the most common mistakes these couples made and came to regret?

One of the most important mistakes is starting divorce proceedings without completely understanding their shared and individual finances. Every couple should know what assets and liabilities they share, what the tax implications of divorce will be and whether each will be able to support themselves after divorce.

Another increasingly common mistake is using social media postings as evidence. This is especially bad in child-custody dispute when one spouse might try to publicly humiliate the other with online postings. Unfortunately, the effect on their children can be devastating, especially when children are already anxious about the divorce and life afterward.

These mistakes can be avoided if both spouses make conscious efforts to approach divorce differently. First, they can figure out whether a nonadversarial approach is better for them. The can, for instance, choose divorce mediation, negotiation or collaborative law.

Second, they can choose the right divorce lawyers. Attorneys can act as bridges between spouses and provide rational arguments about any issue that comes up, offering a collaborative or mediated solution when necessary. Good lawyers can not only draft a couple's settlement agreement but also explain the implications of the settlement to both spouses.

Divorce is a permanent mark in the lives of spouses and their children, so every decision should be made with the bigger picture in mind. Collaborative processes such as mediation and negotiation are thus better able to help couples resolve child custody, child support and property issues more amicably.

Source: The Huffington Post, "10 Legal Mistakes People Make During Divorce (And How Not To Make Them!)," Karen Covy, July 20, 2015

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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