Divorce will seriously impact your family, your finances, and your future. While most individuals understand the gravity of ending their marriages, they are not always aware of common pitfalls that can make divorce more costly and stressful than it needs to be. Cohen Family Law goes to work every day representing divorce clients by seeking the best possible outcome of what is unquestionably a difficult chapter in a person’s life. Here, we examine a few of the most common divorce mistakes and how you can avoid them.
Mistake 1: Not following the rules of Family Law Procedure
Filing a petition for the dissolution of your marriage is the first step to formally divorcing your spouse. But this document must be properly served on your spouse, along with all other documents you file with the court. Service rules are just one example of the rules of Family Law Procedure that govern family law matters. If you fail to understand these rules you could unnecessarily delay your divorce or jeopardize your rights.
Having an attorney who is well-versed in the rules of Family Law Procedure can help avoid this mistake.
Mistake 2: Not understanding the rules of evidence
You may believe that you have the smoking gun which will either substantiate a major point of contention or defeat a key argument made by your spouse. But all evidence can be subject to a number of evidentiary rules that exist to ensure only relevant and reliable proof is admitted into evidence. If you don’t know the rules of evidence, you may never get the chance to show the judge that smoking gun. You may also fail to properly object to evidence presented by your spouse that fails the evidence rules.
Again, retaining knowledgeable legal counsel can help you know and use the rules of evidence so you can make the strongest possible case.
Mistake 3: Not taking mediation seriously
If your divorce involves child custody, there’s a good chance the judge will require you and the other parent to participate in mediation. Mediation is also a good idea, and generally encouraged by judges, with respect to other aspects of divorce. Yet many spouses dismiss mediation as a waste of time because they want to have their day in court. Don’t underestimate the value of mediation, which offers a number of potential benefits including saving time and money and letting you and your spouse (rather than the judge) decide the outcome of your divorce.
Our firm represents clients during mediation so their interests are protected and so they can take full advantage of this important process.
Mistake 4: Not knowing the value of your marital assets and debts
The division of marital property and debt is a key part of divorce. Yet many spouses do not give full attention to making a proper valuation of their assets and liabilities. If you underestimate the value of an asset you may end up walking away with less than you deserve. You could also take on more marital debt than you should if you aren’t familiar with how much debt there actually is.
We can help you conduct a proper appraisal of your marital assets and liabilities, and bring in a third-party expert to assist as needed.
Mistake 5: Not retaining legal counsel
As suggested above, most divorce mistakes (including those not mentioned) can be avoided by hiring skilled legal representation. The right family lawyer will not only understand the laws and rules that concern your divorce, but will work to expedite the process so you don’t unnecessarily spend time, money, and headaches on the termination of your marriage.
If divorce is in your future, let us show you exactly how we can benefit your case and avoid some of the most common errors that divorcing couples make. Give Cohen Family Law a call today to get started.