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Keeping life's main priorities under control during divorce

It is hard for any individual to experience the divorce process. There are, however, certain steps to take in order to minimize the damage. For divorcing dads, there are often common mistakes made that increase the difficulty level of divorce. Just following a few simple rules could potentially make the entire experience much easier to undergo.

First, it is important to be reasonable in one's litigation approach. Driving up the cost of litigation in hopes the other spouse might eventually break is not the best approach. In fact, in California, the courts can impose penalties on parties that engage in unreasonable litigation during the divorce process. Specifically, the court can award attorney's fees if one spouse unnecessarily increases the costs.

Second, it's critical to keep finances under control. Divorce has the tendency to impact a lot of things and one of those items is certainly the pocketbook. After a split, both spouses are forced to live on one income whereas previously they had two. Further, divorce often leaves parties paying child support, alimony or splitting property. Keeping finances in line in anticipation of these substantial changes can help minimize surprises.

Third, divorcing dads must pay close attention to the children and make them a priority. During divorce, there are no shortage of distractions, but this process impacts children too and it is crucial to keep them in mind. Neither fathers nor mothers should use children as a bargaining chip. Putting up a long custody court battle to get what one wants is usually not worth it in the end if the goal is reducing child support payments. Finally, staying on top of court-ordered child custody payments is a must. Letting these payments add up because of unexpected financial changes can result in the imposition of serious consequences including jail time.

Ultimately, the state of California imposes laws surrounding child custody that reflect the best interests of the child. Keeping one's requests during divorce in line with what is best for the children will likely mean the court agrees as well.

Source: Huffington Post, "5 Dumb mistakes dads make during divorce and how to avoid them," B. Robert Farzad, Feb. 13, 2014

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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