1. HIRING THE “AGGRESSIVE” DIVORCE ATTORNEY
When I see divorce lawyers advertising themselves as “AGGRESSIVE” I don’t just throw up in my mouth a little, I get mad. It makes me feel ashamed as a lawyer. It’s not only against the Rules of Ethics, it’s against our rules of being human.
When you see advertised “Aggressive Divorce”… run the other way. FAST.
Leave aggression to personal injury. Divorce lawyers should be thoughtful, practical and, when needed, fierce when it comes to protecting your family.
Who do you need to be protected from? The “aggressive” divorce lawyer on the other side that will screw over you AND his own client (your spouse) by wasting your savings to fight for impossible things, and tearing apart your family.
2. LETTING ANGER HIJACK YOUR COMMON SENSE
You’re smart. You work hard. You make decisions carefully about your finances, family and future. Divorce is tough and anger is inevitable.
It’s hard to step back and say, I’ve always hated that stupid sofa but if my lying, cheating, horrible STBE (soon-to-be-ex) thinks he/she’s getting her hands on it, I’ll spend my last dime making sure that doesn’t happen.
Even if you love the damn sofa, picked it out yourself, begged your spouse for months to buy it, cleaned it with a diaper every night…save the ten grand you’d waste fighting over that sofa alone and buy yourself a new one.
3. SIGNING ANYTHING WITHOUT HAVING A LAWYER READ IT FIRST
This one is simple. A signed agreement is a BINDING LEGAL CONTRACT. Your family and your finances are the most important areas of your life.
The toughest and worst cases I handle are the ones where someone comes to me after trying to do it themselves in a divorce and actually signed an agreement or got stuck with a Court Order while trying to “wing it” without a lawyer. Then it’s time for damage control.
You don’t trust lawyers? You never work with lawyers? You’ll have to get over that for a brief time in your life if you’re getting divorced or you’ll end up stuck with the world’s worst (say it with me): BINDING…LEGAL...CONTRACT.
4. SOCIAL MEDIA…PERIOD
So you’re crying in court that you need support to eat and feed your kids. The Judge starts to get teary eyed herself until she’s handed those fabulous Facebook pictures of you on the beach last week in Monte Carlo.
Got a new girlfriend? Maybe the Judge will be moved to see you kissing the new love of your life. Probably not.
You just finished swearing to the Judge that you’re broke and can’t spend a dime more on support and then he’s handed your latest Instagram pics living it up in Vegas.
You shouldn't hide the truth. It's just a simple fact that people tend to portray on social media that they're living it up, even if they're not, and that can paint the wrong picture.
Stay off social media. You’ll be divorced one day soon and then you can social media binge.
5. LISTENING TO “LEGAL” ADVICE FROM YOUR 100 BEST FRIENDS
Your mailman swears that if you take out the money from the bank and hide it in a new account, you will be safe. Your sister promises you that if you just fill out your own papers you’ll save a ton of money. Ask a lawyer. Lawyers have been around forever. There’s a reason for that.
6. UPDATING THE KIDS ON THE DETAILS OF THEIR OTHER PARENT'S BLOODSUCKING LAWYER
You’ll feel very tempted to tell the kids how awful their mommy/daddy is acting and how difficult he or she is making your life. It’s true and it is unfair. But if you still want the kids to end up as well-balanced, stable adults with healthy relationships, keep them out of it.
7. HIDING THE DIRTY DEETS FROM YOUR OWN ATTORNEY
So you think it’s a good idea not to tell your lawyer about the alcohol problem you’re facing or the money you spent on gambling or the affair you had during the marriage. If your lawyer knows about it, your lawyer can prepare for it and build a better case.
As divorce lawyers, we have seen it all and part of our job is dealing with it to help you build your case. If your lawyer is surprised by information in court, you’re in trouble.
8. USING THE BILLABLE HOUR TO FOCUS ON JUST HOW MUCH YOUR SPOUSE SUCKS
Lawyers are expensive. Part of the cost comes from all of the money spent on education and training and experience to know what will make the difference in your case and what will not. If you want to spend $300-$500 per hour talking to your lawyer at length in detail about how horrible your ex treated your mother, that is your decision. Not a good one.
9. HAVING A STRANGER MAKE THE FINAL DECISIONS ABOUT YOUR KIDS AND YOUR FINANCES
The judges themselves will tell couples that their best option is to enter into a settlement agreement in which you can choose your own plan for dividing your stuff and how to raise your kids.
If you have a chance to make the decision yourself through collaborative divorce or mediation, you can decide on a plan custom fit to your family. A judge can’t do that after getting to know you for a few hours. Not to mention that preparing for trial is very expensive. For every one hour spent in court, a lawyer needs about 3-4 hours to prepare. Now consider a three-day trial plus preparation billed by the hour.
You do the math.
10. BEING A REPEAT OFFENDER
No, this doesn’t refer to repeat divorces. This refers to the couples that drag each other through court from beginning to end (sometimes through the fault of only one spouse or one spouse’s aggressive attorney), finally get their divorce, and then keep coming back to court for some more.
Some people fail to follow the court order. Some simply continue to fight with each other or are forced into court by a bitter ex. If you have children, this can go on for years and years. Try not to be a repeat offender.
If your spouse is guilty of being a repeat offender, hire a good, reasonable lawyer to make your ex (and possibly his/her attorney if acting unreasonably) pay your attorney’s fees. That should end the madness.
CLICK HERE: EASE THE PAINS OF DIVORCE OR CALL (954) 449-8719 for more info about Avoiding the Top Ten Divorce Mistakes in Broward and Miami-Dade County, Florida (Weston, Cooper City, Fort Lauderdale, Hollywood, Plantation, Miami and surrounding areas).