Six Mistakes People Commonly Make When Getting Divorced - Family Matters Mediators and Counsellors

January 9, 2020

Getting divorced is stressful. In fact, Divorce can be one of the main stressors in a person’s life. Emotions can overcome even the most stable of people. There are good days and there are bad days, and there are even those days when it feels as if your world is crashing down upon you. It is not surprising that in light of these facts, people commonly make big mistakes when it comes to making decisions. Here are a few things to be mindful of when getting separated and divorced:

  1. Short Term Thinking When It Comes To Making Financial Decisions:
    In too many cases, people do not think about the long term ramifications of their proposed financial settlements. For instance, while $25,000 or even $200,000 may seem like a lot of money to you today, what will this money really be worth down the road with inflation? If you need help understanding finances, get help from a financial professional prior to commencing any sort of financial negotiation.

  2. The Non –Negotiables:
    People frequently refuse to budge when it comes to their non-negotiables. For instance, one party may be insistent that they want to stay in the marital home. However, they may have not taken the time to think about whether or not this is a solid and feasible financial option. Will they be able to afford the upkeep? What if the property taxes and the utilities substantially increase in costs? Will they end up being house rich, but cash poor? Do your best to examine all of the possible ramifications of a financial settlement before embarking on a major decision.

  3. Emotionally Driven Decisions:
    Many times I have heard people say “I just want this to be over”. Granted divorce is stressful. Even so, it is never a wise idea to “throw in the towel”. The decisions that you make in your divorce will impact your lives and your children’s lives moving forward, so it is important to make your decisions in a business-like fashion. This means that you need to make your decisions based on their feasibility, their practicality, their logistics, etc. Emotional decisions frequently bear unpleasant consequences, so do not on base your decisions on what your heart feels.

  4. Sweating the Small Stuff:
    I cannot stress strongly enough how important it is to choose your battles carefully. Time and time again people will choose to fight over household items that are really of very little financial value. Televisions, couches, and so on, are basically worthless from a dollar point of view, yet people will spend thousands of dollars to “win” their right to keep that material item. Unless you are battling over a Van Gogh or a Picasso – do not bother. It will cost you a lot less in the long run to simply repurchase these items again.

  5. Not Considering the Children’s Needs:
    Parents should always be child focused when it comes to thinking about their Parenting Plans. Many parents will state that they want 50-50 parenting time, but is this always what is best for the kids? It very well may be, but that is providing that both parents live for example within close enough proximity to the children’s school. Think about it – most kids are not going to like waking up an extra hour earlier in the morning just to get to school on time.

  6. Not Utilizing Your Lawyer’s Time Wisely:
    Lawyer’s fees are not for the faint of heart. Lawyers in the GTA charge anywhere from $300 and up per hour, with $600 and even $800 not being unheard of. Lawyers charge their clients for all costs that they incur in addition to their hourly billing rates. In Family Law, costs can escalate quite quickly. This is why it is crucial to recognize that your lawyer is not a substitute for a therapist or a Divorce Coach. Sure you can call your lawyer multiple times a day and/or bombard them with emails. Be aware though that doing this will greatly cause your legal bill to quickly escalate. You can avoid this type of situation by using your lawyer’s time wisely. Prepare your questions ahead of time so that you do not need to make multiple phone calls. Consider seeking out a therapist to help you more effectively manage your emotions, or a Divorce Coach to help organize you for your lawyer. I promise that you will be glad that you did.