Albany family law attorneys will tell you that most divorce cases settle and that only five percent proceed to trial.  They will also tell you if asked, that the main question in your divorce is how difficult and expensive it will be before you and your spouse will be able to settle and finalize your divorce.

There are common mistakes divorcing couples make that lengthen the divorce proceedings and roughen the road they travel on the way to finally settling their divorce cases. Here is a list of “10 Don’ts” for divorces that spring from these common mistakes.

WHEN LEAVING

1. Do not back out of your marriage secretly.  Some spouses irreparably damage the trust needed to reach an agreement by surreptitiously preparing for divorce.  Talk to your spouse about your intentions before you begin gathering records, closing accounts, and hiring an attorney.

2. If you are initiating the divorce, do not wait for your spouse to figure out what you are thinking.  Disclose your feelings directly and honestly. The longer you wait, the greater the amount of time your spouse is likely to need to accept that a divorce is inevitable.

3. Do not make nasty or malicious comments, especially if you have children.  

4. Do not confess past sins.  Doing so may make you feel better, but the confession will make your spouse angrier and the divorce harder.

HANDLING FINANCES

5. Do not withdraw more than your fair share from a joint bank account, or run up credit card expenses on a joint card account.  Discuss in advance how to handle joint accounts, or, if you think that approach unwise, withdraw half. 50/50 splits are hard to argue with.

6. Do not hide financial information.  Your spouse’s lawyer is likely to find it, and you will no longer be trusted.  Also, you will run up the legal bills, which are paid out of the marital estate, whether from your lawyer or your spouse’s lawyer.

7. Do not hide income or assets.  Trying to hide assets leaves a paper trail anyway, and it will be discovered. Judges punish those who try to conceal assets, and they lose all credibility.

WHILE REACHING AGREEMENT

8. Do not be difficult.  You may think your positions are justified, but in truth, you are making completion of what is essentially a business transaction harder and more expensive.

9. Do not begin a new relationship until your divorce is final.  If you do, your spouse will likely be angered and saddened. Those feelings will surface in the negotiations.

10. Do not harbor negative feelings and keep fighting repeatedly about the same issues after the divorce.  Do not let your divorce negatively impact future chapters in your life. If you have children, continued fighting deepens the damage the divorce has already done to them.

Albany family attorneys have more wise advice to share, which you can learn by contacting an experienced divorce attorney using the form to your right.

Divorce Myths From an Albany Family Law Attorney

Misconceptions about divorce are common.  Any Albany family law attorney you speak to can tell you that the following beliefs are infrequently or never true:

1. Alimony is bad news for the payer. This is sometimes true.  When alimony is used in settlement negotiations as a way of equalizing assets or partially providing child support, however, it becomes a money-saver for the paying spouse because it is tax-deductible.

2. It is better to be the first to file.  Generally, it makes no difference who files for divorce first.  The two advantages to filing first are (a) you can withdraw the papers if you change your mind and (b) in the rare event your case proceeds to trial, you present your case first, which can be a small assist.

3. You should prepare before disclosing your plans.  Some spouses believe in assembling documents, setting aside money, and mentally preparing to separate before talking to their partners.  If the partner is an angry and vindictive person, perhaps advance preparation is a good thing. Otherwise, the first thing you should share with your partner is your feelings and your plans. The reason for this is that separation and divorce create strong feelings that need to be worked through before an amicable settlement can be reached.  If you are too far ahead of your partner in adapting to the new status quo, your settlement is likely to bog down for emotional reasons.

4. Poor parenting before divorce means poor parenting afterwards.  Low involvement with the children prior to separation is not a reliable indicator of involvement afterward.  Many spouses become better parents after divorce, perhaps because they worry about losing touch with their children once they are faced with living apart from them.

5. It is best to fight fire with fire.  Doing this will only escalate an argument.  Instead, refuse to engage. Hold your position, but do not inflame the situation.  Try granting some minor concessions to get the discussion moving in a positive direction.  

6. The sooner you start a new relationship, the better.  Dating during divorce can cause big problems.  Many daters are surprised by the jealousy they encounter from their spouses. That spousal resentment frequently derails negotiations that were moving along nicely.

If you want or need to speak to an experienced Albany family law attorney about your situation and divorce plans, complete the form to your right.