You’ve shared the news with friends and family that you’re getting divorced…now wait for it…because here comes the advice. Those closest to you are an invaluable source for emotional support during what is often a turbulent time in life. But when it comes to dishing out legal advice? However well-meaning, the tips your divorced friends and family share with you may be woefully outdated, totally irrelevant, or downright wrong. Men can be particularly susceptible to certain myths and half-truths. What pitfalls should you avoid? Check out the five worst pieces of divorce advice for men.
(Women: you are not immune! Read our blog: 5 Worst Pieces of Divorce Advice for Women for more.)
Bad Advice: Leave the house as soon as you can. Sure, the thought of living with your ex can seem more than a little awkward. But leaving the home before taking legal steps to divide marital property can be far worse. If you own the house together, you will still be on the hook for half the expenses – a huge financial hit if you’re paying rent on a new place. Living elsewhere also means having less access to your children. This can establish a “status quo” that can lead to less custody time when the divorce is final.
Bad Advice: Go for full custody of the kids so you can lower child support. The only reason to ask for a greater share of parenting time with your kids is because you actually want more time with them. Suing for custody just so you can get back at your ex by paying less child support is not in your children’s best interest. They should never be used as pawns in the battle between parents. Saving money now is not worth the long-term psychological damage custody disputes can cause children – especially if the goal was to hurt the other parent, not to protect them.
Bad Advice: Hire a shark attorney. The only person who benefits from a shark attorney is a shark attorney! Overly aggressive lawyers will prolong the fight, inflame the conflict, and drain your wallet in order to rack up fees. Not only is there no guarantee that they will get you a better deal, but you actually may end up far worse than if you’d hired a more collaborative attorney: broke, with less custody than you want, and an acrimonious co-parenting relationship with your ex.
Bad Advice: Hide money. You probably don’t like the idea of dividing assets and paying support – especially if you feel betrayed and abandoned. But indulging in “creative accounting” in order to hide assets will give you a bad reputation in family court. Judges will not look favorably upon you if you’re found to be lying. Nor will your ex, with whom you have to co-parent. Although the stereotype of the gold-digging ex-wife abounds, the truth is, most women don’t use alimony and child support to fund their shopping sprees; they use this money to provide a stable home life for their children.
Bad Advice: Get revenge. Getting back at an ex whom you feel has wronged you by draining a joint bank account, or worse, may provide you short-term satisfaction. But it’s more likely to yield long-term headaches and heartaches. Do you really want your children to suffer the brunt of financial hardship? By modeling mature behavior and appropriate conflict-resolution skills, you will show them that you love them more than you hate your ex.
Everyone wants to seek comfort during the maelstrom of divorce. But heeding woefully misguided advice from non-legal professionals will just make your divorce worse. Need clear guidance? Our experienced family law attorneys can help. Please contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.