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At White Oak Legal we created this guide to help you avoid 5 common Divorce don’ts. Our goal is to help you make informed decisions, and avoid common pitfalls. If you avoid these common mistakes it will save you time, heartache, and money.

Here are our Top 5 Divorce Don’ts:

1. Should I sign a separation agreement my spouse gave me?
Many divorce cases settle with a separation agreement or divorce settlement. Separation agreements can settle all, or some, of your marital issues such as alimony, child custody, child support, and property division. These agreements are generally a ‘complete settlement’ or ‘total settlement.’

What does ‘complete settlement’ mean?

A complete, or total, settlement means that once the agreement is signed the case, except for a few exceptions, is done. There is no revisiting the provisions unless it’s by consent of you and your spouse. There are no do-overs with ‘complete settlements.’

That said, you should consult with a lawyer before you sign any agreement with your spouse. Fixing, or trying to fix, a bad settlement agreement is one of the most difficult and expensive things we do as divorce lawyers. Divorce, and the legal issues involved, is not simple, and some expert guidance may save you a lot of money, heart ache, and time.

2. Can I date after separation?
Issues of the heart are complicated. While many times another person is not the reason for a separation, sometimes a new partner may be a chief motivator. Our advice: hold off. Another partner, especially if children are involved, will make your case much more difficult to resolve.

Your primary concern during a separation should be self reflection, and a quick and advantageous resolution of your divorce. There will be plenty of time for romance after you settle, and the relationships that come after a separation won’t be burdened with the stress of the divorce process.

If you must date prior to resolution of your case please be smart, and don’t shove the new relationship in your spouse’s face. You will only make your life more difficult in the long run.

3. We don’t need two lawyers do we?
You should not allow your spouse to convince you not to hire your own lawyer. Any lawyer hired by your spouse does not represent you, and may not have your best interests at heart. We’ve heard it all: “It will save time”; “One lawyer will save us money”; “Don’t you trust me?”; etc. There are countless examples.

More often than not these situations lead to one-sided agreements that do not serve you. Going along to get along in these situations is not the proper course of action. Divorce is not a situation where passivity is a wise course of action. A bad separation agreement can have lasting effects for your financial future, and your children.

Don’t do it.

4. I should hire the most difficult lawyer in town, right?
You should hire the lawyer with whom you feel the most comfortable. There are times to go to war with your spouse, but the fact is, most cases settle. The difference between the cases that settle and those that go to trial is the time and expense involved in resolution.

If you can’t already tell, Divorce isn’t a time to be passive: Of course there are situations where days of depositions and exhaustive requests for documents make sense, but that should not be the default position. When you make the decision to spend the time and money to do these things there should be a clearly identifiable goal.

Everything your lawyer does should be calculated to give you value. If you don’t understand why you lawyer does something then ask. Your lawyer works for you.

5. What about social media?
You wouldn’t believe the things we find on spouse’s social media accounts. Publicly visible social media accounts are a treasure trove of valuable information. We can see where you travel, eat, with whom you associate, what you’ve bought, and what you have to say about the news of the day. Our advice, if you insist on using social media do so judiciously for the pendency of your Divorce case, and don’t allow anyone else to post about you, or on your behalf. The privacy settings on your account are your best friend in situations like this.
What do I do now?
This is just the beginning, but you’ve taken the first step: Education. We know you may be overwhelmed, but together we will develop a plan that fits your situation, and addresses your specific concerns.

Do you have more questions? Read more about many Divorce topics.




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