When you’re preparing for a divorce, the process can seem overwhelming. Even the simplest divorce involves a lot of paperwork, financial documentation, and deadlines. If thinking about it stresses you out, you’re not alone.
Still, the fundamental nature of divorce is relatively straightforward. Even if you have complicated disputes that need to be resolved, approaching the process with the right preparation can help you keep the process moving.
That’s why we have compiled the following list of dos and don’ts for your divorce. No matter what is going on in your split, these ten tips are the key to keeping your divorce on track.
1. Don’t: Assume Divorce Has to Happen in Court
When you see divorces on the news or in the movies, they are usually drawn-out legal battles where every matter is decided by a judge. While they make for good television, these adversarial divorces are in the minority. Most couples resolve some or even all of their disputes without appearing in court.
When you assume court is the only option, you miss out on the benefits of other forms of dispute resolution. That can be a costly and time-consuming mistake, especially if you and your spouse are relatively amicable.
2. Do: Consider Cooperative Divorce or Mediation
Many Oregon couples benefit from mediation and cooperative divorce every year. These methods allow spouses to figure out their divorce settlement without a judge making decisions for them.
In cooperative divorces, you work with your spouse and your attorneys to negotiate the settlement. Mediation adds a trained mediator to the mix to help keep conversations productive. Both strategies are excellent for achieving satisfactory settlements without the hassle or stress of going to court.
3. Don’t: Use the Divorce Process to Harm Your Spouse
Most divorces involve some hurt feelings. That’s a natural part of ending a relationship you thought would last forever. Still, the legal and financial aspects of a divorce should never be used to hurt or punish your spouse.
Oregon is strictly a no-fault state. This means no fault or punitive action is assigned during the divorce process. No matter why you’re getting divorced, both spouses are treated equally. Because of this, using the family law system as a weapon can actually harm your case.
If it’s found that you’re trying to unfairly claim more than your share of the marital assets or claim full custody of the kids without grounds, you may lose credibility with the court. You could even lose custody yourself.
4. Do: Find Productive Outlets for Your Emotions
If you have strong emotions about your split, you can channel them in other ways. Consider volunteering, picking up a new physical hobby, or spending more time with your friends and family. These are healthy and beneficial ways to distract and express yourself without risking legal consequences.
5. Don’t: Rush Matters to End Things Faster
The stress and pressure of getting divorced can make you eager to end the process as quickly as possible. That’s a valid feeling, but don’t let speed take precedence over thoroughness. Trying to rush through your split can cause you to miss important details and hurt yourself in the long run.
For example, if you try to rush matters, you may make compromises you regret later to get your spouse to agree to a settlement. This can include giving up assets you’d rather keep or agreeing to spousal support that doesn’t fit your needs. These issues could affect your life for years.
6. Do: Think About Long-Term Consequences
Before making any choices about a settlement offer, consider where you want to be five, ten, or twenty years from now. How will the settlement impact your ability to get there?
You should also think about how your life will be different in the future and how that may change your needs. For example, you may consider whether you actually want to keep your marital home if your children are nearly adults and you expect to downsize in a few years anyway. Thinking things through like this can help you avoid hasty decisions.
7. Don’t: Sign Anything Without Understanding It
If you’re impatient to end things, you may sign the first settlement offer your spouse presents without understanding it. This is a bad idea. Your spouse may submit an offer that is disadvantageous to you with the expectation that you’ll negotiate elements of the agreement. Never sign any legal contract without understanding what it requires of you, especially in a divorce.
8. Do: Review Everything Carefully
Review every document you’re given carefully, whether it’s the initial divorce summons, your spouse’s financial disclosure, a settlement offer, or the final divorce decree and orders. Make sure you understand what every clause means and how it affects you. This ensures you know your legal obligations and rights every step of the way and allows you to better negotiate your final settlement.
9. Don’t: Handle Matters Alone
A divorce is complex and has many moving parts. Handling it without legal help is a recipe for mistakes. While it may seem like the more efficient solution at the moment, it can lead to higher costs as you try to fix mistakes or file post-judgment modifications later. It’s easier to get legal help right away rather than try to catch up a new attorney on everything that’s happened if you bring them into the process later.
10. Do: Consult a Skilled Oregon Divorce Lawyer
An experienced attorney who understands your state laws can make all the difference in your divorce. The expert attorneys at Regele Law, LLC, are available to help. We have years of experience representing clients in all types of divorces through mediation, cooperative divorce, and litigation. Learn more about how we can assist you by scheduling your consultation today.