Divorce Litigation

Most divorce cases should not be that difficult.  The law in nearly every state reduces the guess work in all but a few, rare situations.  Yet divorces often become protracted, dramatic and more painful than necessary because a litigant becomes his or her own worst enemy.  Below I recite a few of the most common and harmful mistakes and better ways of handling issues:

1. Not Telling Your Attorney Everything

Tell your attorney everything that is likely to be brought to light by the other side in their zeal to make you look bad.  If you are in hard hitting custody battle, you can expect the very worst to be said about you.  Even the least reasonable people know that there has to be some measure of credibility to an allegation for it to stick, so these will be things you know about - and your attorney needs to know them too.  If you're sitting in court, and opposing counsel asks you if you've every been treated for drug addiction, and your attorney is hearing that, well, yes you have, - and for the first time, you will probably lose ground you may never be able to overcome.  This is often a shame, because a good attorney can usually take the weaknesses in your case and turn them neutral, if not in your favor.

2. Succumbing to Mudslinging

Do not engage in mudslinging at any time. Unless they are directly affecting your kids or your own finances, courts really do not care about your brother-in-law's gambling issues.  Harping on these things in emails, on facebook, MySpace, etc., makes you look vindictive, and unconcerned about the welfare of your children or about moving on with your life.  Train your self to ignore what is being said about you, you will adjust much better, and do not cast stones in the other direction.  It is a waste of energy that can be put to good, productive use elsewhere.

3. Not Counting Divorce Costs in Advance

Once you've reached the decision to file for divorce or have been served with a divorce summons, you need to be reasonable in assessing the real costs of what is transpiring.  The work an attorney must do is extraordinary.  There are multiple hearings, motions, negotiations, mediation, discovery requests, and more.  There may be multiple experts involved in your case.  None of this is inexpensive, in fact, it is quite expensive. If you hire an attorney to save money in litigation, you may end up paying in the settlement or elsewhere.  Be realistic, and don't pinch pennies.

There are many other mistakes you can make or avoid in litigation.  It's a crucial time to think clearly, set your pride aside and focus on the very serious task at hand. 

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