What are the most expensive mistakes made during a divorce? And how do I stay away from them?
When getting a divorce, you should ask yourself these important questions. If you have to get a divorce, you want it to go as quickly, easily, and quickly as possible. You need to be sure that your future is safe as you start your new life. We understand this.
As divorce lawyers with decades of experience helping people with everything from contested high-net-worth divorces to mediated divorces with few assets, we know what speeds up a divorce and what slows it down. We work closely with our clients to help them protect their “now,” protect their children and assets and secure their futures.
On the other hand, we have seen how many mistakes the other spouse and their advice made. We have helped clients of other law firms go back to court to handle serious problems that could have been avoided after the divorce. So, we’ve put together a list of the top 3 divorce mistakes that you must avoid. These are some of the most common and “costly” mistakes that people make. (We’ve also written a free white paper about the Top 5 Costly Divorce Mistakes, which you can get below.)
What are the most expensive divorce mistakes?
- Using the wrong “reason” to get a divorce.
- Not answering the papers for a divorce
- Getting legal help from family and friends
Getting a divorce on the Wrong “Ground.”
In New Jersey, there is a long list of things that can lead to a divorce, from sexual behavior that is against the law to desertion, abandonment, addiction, and adultery. Even if, in the heat of the moment, you want your spouse to be shamed in public for cheating or a secret sexual fetish, there are three reasons why you should be careful when choosing the reason for divorce.
- Proof. If your spouse says they didn’t do what you say they did, can you prove it?
- Cost. A tense or contested divorce could take longer and cost more, but it could also lead to a much worse settlement because neither party is likely to want to talk. This could mean that a judge, who is a third party, could decide things like your finances and any alimony payments you might have to make in the future.
- Future. Would you really want it written down in court records and discussed in a public court hearing that the other parent of your children did something embarrassing or not related to the marriage? What would your kids think if their friends found out about this? Or did they grow up and learn this information on their own, and you made it public? Also, if this news affected your spouse’s job or future, could it affect their future earnings, and therefore the amount of alimony you have to pay or receive from them?
Not Answering the Papers for Divorce
Did you know that if you don’t respond to divorce papers, you could be divorced without your “permission” or input?
If a process server comes to your door and hands you a divorce summons, you might be tempted to tear the papers up or just not look at them. Both of these moves are wrong in the end. In New Jersey, the divorce defendant (that’s you if your spouse filed first) has 35 days from the date the papers were served to respond to the Complaint and file any counterclaims. If you don’t do this, you basically give your spouse and a judge control over your divorce settlement if a default judgment is entered. Getting papers for a divorce is a big deal, so take a deep breath, open the envelope, and start reading. What’s next? Talk to a good family law attorney who can help you figure out how to respond to papers and make a plan for your divorce.
Getting Help with Legal Matters from Friends and Family
It’s great that you have family and friends who can help you as you start the divorce process. Let your family and friends give you the emotional and personal support you need, but unless they are experienced and practicing family law attorneys, there are many reasons to ignore any legal advice they try to give you. In New Jersey, the rules for divorce, including how to divide assets, are always changing and hard to understand. Even if someone is trying to help, they may give you advice that sets you back and could even cost you money.