Due to the fact that divorce proceedings generally tend to be complex proceedings, it’s unfortunately quite common for one, if not both parties, to make a few mistakes throughout the divorce proceedings at one point or another. Additionally, a few of the mistakes that are made in divorce proceedings seem to occur far more often than others. Having the guidance of a skilled family law attorney with the necessary knowledge of these complex divorce processes can protect you from making errors and protect your best interest throughout your own divorce proceedings. A few of the most common mistakes made throughout many divorce proceedings include:
Failure to properly plan for your own long-term financial security
By the time you and your spouse have made the decision to divorce, you have most likely already spent a considerable amount of time planning for your joint long-term financial security. Perhaps a major reason for the divorce is even because of an inability to agree on financial matters. If this is the case, it is unlikely you will be able to agree on the financial matters pertaining to how property will be divided, and how support obligations will be handled in the future. Never the less, many people forget to protect their own long-term financial security throughout the course of their divorce proceedings, a fatal mistake which may affect them financially for many years.
There will be several financial decisions that need to be made during the divorce process, and it is important to consider these decisions carefully when working through mediations and other types of divorce proceedings. Such financial considerations include how you will divide marital assets such as retirement savings and insurance policies, child support, and alimony. While it can be difficult to do so during the emotionally charged divorce process, it is important to think about the ways in which your future could change and the impact those changes could have on your financial responsibilities in the future. It is also important that you are completely aware of every aspect of each long-term financial arrangement that is agreed on.
It is very common for people to think of child support obligations and alimony payment obligations as providing the same sort of support, and thus treat these financial decisions the same way in divorce mediations and proceedings. However, each of these types of obligations carry different tax implications with them and making these support obligation decisions without taking the tax implications into consideration can significantly affect your long-term financial stability. Generally speaking, child support obligations tend to be a more favorable arrangement for the spouse who will be receiving the support payment because the spouse who is making the support payments is responsible for paying the taxes on them. However, alimony support payments tend to be a more favorable support payment arrangement for the person making the support payments because the spouse who receives the support payments must claim it as income on their own taxes and can thus be deducted by the spouse who is making the support payments.
Failure to properly develop an appropriate custody and time-sharing schedule agreement
Decisions regarding child custody and time-sharing schedules should always be made with the child’s best interest in mind. And the State of Florida typically favors shared parental responsibility and time-sharing schedules. Quite shockingly, many couples who are recently separated and going through the divorce process appear to agree early on that such an agreement is in-deed in the best interest of their child or children. Unfortunately, this leads to another major mistake that is often made in divorce proceedings – agreeing to a parental responsibility and time-sharing schedule that is extremely vague when it comes to details which ultimately gives one parent too much discretion and leaves the other parent with fewer rights than they intended.
A parental responsibility and time-sharing arrangement that is vague in details might work well when both parents are getting along and are able to continue to agree on decisions regarding the kids. But sadly, it is unlikely this will last forever, and is much more likely that the parents will eventually have a disagreement and when this occurs you will have to look to your final judgment to determine who has the right to decide. Additionally, modifying these agreements can be extremely challenging if you need to later on.
At first glance, many people believe the parenting plan template looks self-explanatory and simple to complete yourself, but there are still several fine details that the basic template fails to address. Attempting to complete the details in the parenting plan yourself without the guidance of an attorney who is experienced in regularly working with these fine details and complicated parenting plans leaves you at risk of accidentally agreeing to give up more parental responsibility or time-sharing rights than you should. Unfortunately, if you and your ex-spouse have a disagreement in the future, especially about something regarding the children, a vengeful ex-spouse may use the parenting plan to withhold the children from the other parent and push that parent out of decision making for the child simply because the wording in the parenting plan allows them to do so legally.
Failure to hire an attorney to represent you throughout the divorce
While it is highly recommended, the State of Florida does not require individuals going through a divorce to hire a lawyer to represent them throughout any divorce proceedings. Because of this, several individuals decide not to seek out the help of skilled counsel and instead choose to act as their own representation, also referred to as a “pro se” litigant. This especially tends to occur when it seems like both spouses are reasonably agreeing to the terms of their divorce arrangements. Having said that, choosing to act as your own representation throughout any legal proceeding involves several risks that are expensive and challenging to correct later on. By hiring an experienced family law attorney to represent you throughout the divorce process, you significantly reduce the risk of making a mistake in mediations and ensures your rights and interests are protected.