Everyone is shoving self-help books and emailing blogs of biblical proportions at you. The titles are great, but who can summon the energy with everything going on?
Here’s a short read (under 65 pgs) that you can skim and rack up huge takeaways: Divorce: Overcome the Overwhelm and Avoid the Six Biggest Mistakes—Insights from Personal Divorce Coaches: Cooper, Pegotty, Cooper, Randall R
Here are the Six Biggest Mistakes to Avoid During Your Divorce According to the Coopers:
- Forgetting who the Decision Makers Are:
With the stress of a divorce, it’s easy to say, “my lawyer will handle it,” or “Call my lawyer,” and believe your attorney will make a choice that considers your work schedule, your child’s band practice, or your mortgage interest rate.
It won’t happen. No one knows your situation, your kids, or your income better than you and your soon-to-be-ex. So, stay in the driver’s seat and, if you need, work with professionals to manage your emotions when tackling each issue: Parenting time, finances, the house, retirement accounts, and anything particular to your marriage. Don’t let someone else influence what you know to be true.
- My Way or The Highway:
This is fighting to win no matter the cost or time involved. The only winners here are the lawyers with their billable hours. When children are involved, the My Way or The Highway approach clouds what really matters: Your kids’ wellbeing, their financial support, parenting time, and how they view you moving forward.
- Limiting your Resources:
Don’t expect your lawyer to have all the answers. While she or he may be intelligent, their area of expertise is limited to their corner of the law. Picture a dermatologist removing an appendix – same principle. You may dread speaking with an accountant, a trust & estates attorney, a home appraiser, or a pediatric therapist, but expecting your lawyer to have a smorgasbord of tailored-just-for-you information may mean you miss out on benefits in your divorce agreement.
- Throwing in the Towel: You’ve had it up to here with the arguments, and you just want it to be OVER! The stress, the fatigue, the mounting divorce debt – just give her/him WHATEVER they want so we can be done with it. Sound familiar?
By jumping on a quick solution you may risk giving up future benefits. Just to name a few: divvying up college costs, alimony for several years longer, or a child’s unforeseen medical expenses, for example. Leaving the negotiating table early may be a relief now, but having to renegotiate later will cost more money and peace of mind.
- Betting the Farm on Another Relationship
You met someone new!!! The divorce isn’t over, but you want your freedom faster. You’re in such a hurry that you’re even willing to give up key benefits it took weeks to negotiate. Who needs ten years of alimony? You’ll settle for three because the new paramour has a house in the Hamptons or claims to be a Bitcoin Barron/esse (yeah, no). Here’s the real test: If this new love hadn’t come along, would you still be making the same decisions? If the answer is no, then don’t give up what you need, want and deserve. Focus and finish the divorce so you can look back knowing you made the best choices for you and the kids and didn’t leave crucial benefits on the table.
- Wanting Guarantees and Certainty
Divorce can mean disruption (it can also mean renewal, but we’re not there yet). The life you banked on is no longer happening. You may have to sell your house. Where will you live? Where will the kids go to school? Will you have to get a second job? These questions, that don’t yet have answers, churn through your brain until you’re so overwhelmed, you can’t make decisions. You know your ex isn’t trying to bankrupt you, but you can’t commit to any of the settlement proposals. Your future is in flux, and you’re scared.
Next, you pen a list of every item in and outside the house that you want: The lawnmower, the fake Picasso, the kayak, even the dog’s crate. Although this may feel like progress because finally something is in writing, you’re avoiding making choices that will affect your life for possibly years to come. Sit down, read the proposed settlement offers, envision how each option will affect your future and any changes you’d suggest. Talk to an expert, call your coach, schedule a mediation session, and take one step at a time.