What are the Top Costly Mistakes of Divorce? And how can I avoid them?
These critical questions are ones anyone going into a divorce should ask themselves. If you have to get divorced, you want it to be as swift, as painless, and as effective as possible. You need to start your new life confident in the knowledge that your future is protected. We understand this.
As divorce lawyers with decades of experience helping people with everything from contested high net worth divorces through to mediated divorces with minimal assets, we understand what helps speed up a divorce as well as what slows it down. We work closely with our clients to help them safeguard their ‘now’, protect their children and assets, and secure their futures.
Conversely, we have seen the myriad of mistakes made by the other spouse and their counsel. We have helped clients of other law firms go back to court to deal with serious post-divorce issues that could have been avoided. Therefore, we have distilled some of the most common — and most ‘costly’ — mistakes down into the top 3 divorce mistakes that you must avoid when going through your divorce. (We also have created a white paper that covers the Top 5 Costly Divorce Mistakes which you can download for free, below.)
What are the Top Costly Mistake of Divorce?
- Choosing the wrong “ground’ for divorce.
- Not responding to Divorce Papers
- Taking legal advice from friends and relatives
Choosing the Wrong “Ground” for Divorce.
New Jersey has a long list of grounds for divorce from deviant sexual conduct to desertion, abandonment to addiction to adultery. While, in the heat of the moment, you might want your spouse to be shamed publicly for cheating or for a secret sexual fetish, it is imperative to choose the ground for divorce carefully for three reasons.
- Proof. Can you actually provide evidence of the alleged wrongdoing if your spouse denies it?
- Cost. Having a contentious or contested divorce could take longer (costing you more) but also could result in a much poorer settlement as both parties are less likely to want to negotiate. This could mean a judge – a third party – could decide on matters such as your finances and any future alimony payments.
- Future. Would you really want it recorded for posterity in court records (and in a public court hearing) that your children’s other parent had engaged in an extramarital or potentially embarrassing activity? How would your children feel if their peers learned of this? Or they grew up and learned this information and that you put this information in the public domain? Additionally, if your spouse’s job or future was impacted by this revelation, could it impact upon their future earnings – and therefore on the amount you have to pay or receive from them in alimony?
Not Responding to Divorce Papers
Did you know, that by not responding to divorce papers, you could be divorced without your ‘permission’ or input?
If you open your door to a process server handing you a divorce summons, it’s tempting to rip the papers up or simply refuse to look at them. Both of these moves are ultimately a mistake. In New Jersey, the defendant in the divorce (that’s you if your spouse was the one who filed first) has 35 days from the date the papers were served to respond to the Complaint and file any counterclaims. If you fail to do so, you essentially hand over control of your divorce settlement to your spouse, and to a judge, in the event a default judgment is entered. Having divorced papers served on you is serious, so take a deep breath, open the envelope, and start reading. The next step? Contact a qualified family law attorney to guide you through responding to papers and creating a strategic action plan for your divorce.
Taking Legal Advice From Friends and Relatives
It is wonderful that you have friends and family available to offer support as you start the divorce process. Let your loved ones give you the emotional and personal strength you need, but unless they are an experienced and practicing family law attorney, there are many reasons to shy away from any legal advice they try to pass along. Rules governing divorce in New Jersey, including asset division, are constantly changing and complex. Though well-meaning, you may be on the receiving end of advice that can really set you back and potentially cost you money.
Want to learn about the other costly divorce mistakes, and how to avoid them? Download our Free guide: the Top 5 Costly Mistakes of Divorce
Already know that you will need to divorce? Don’t fall foul of any errors. Talk to us about your situation and about what you need out of your divorce at an initial consultation with an experienced NJ divorce lawyer. Call us on (888) 888-0919.