A couple weeks ago, we discussed five common pitfalls to avoid in a family law case. This week we’ll discuss five more mistakes that you will want to avoid should you find yourself embroiled in a family suit.
1. Venting on Social Media/Text Messages: I know, I know. I keep hammering this home but that is because it is so very important. If there is one thing you get from these posts, know that writings are evidence. I understand the need to vent pent up frustrations, but do it by talking to someone you can trust, not by posting it all over social media or by texting the opposing party. These writings, even if they were meant to be taken as a joke can and will be used against you. If you must use social media during your case, think not once but three times before you post.
2. Rushing Settlements: This is a mistake that is more likely to occur when a case has been pending for a long time. In the desire to conclude the case quickly or just get it over with, sometimes clients will want to settle for less than they deserve. Contested legal battles take time from several months to several years. I know the process can be draining in multiple ways but it’s important to take the time to negotiate a fair agreement, especially when it comes to property division and child custody arrangements.
3. Neglecting Child’s Best Interests: When children are involved, their best interests should always be the top priority. I’ve heard clients say “that’s not fair to me.” more times than I can count at this point. The truth of the matter is the Court doesn’t care about what’s fair to parents. If they did a 50/50 possession schedule would be the norm. The Court will always do what’s in the best interest of the child, which means you need to think that way too. Don’t use the kids as pawns or involve them in the details of the dispute. Instead, focus on their well-being and emotional stability. Your goal isn’t to punish the other parent, but to put the children in the best situation possible.
4. Disregarding Alternative Dispute Resolution: Mediation and collaborative law can be effective alternatives to litigation. Failing to explore these options might result in a lengthy and costly court battle. If you are in a situation where you believe that you can come to a settlement but you need a little help to get there, consider these options.
5. Forgetting About Post-Divorce Modifications: Life circumstances change, and post-divorce modifications may become necessary. Don’t overlook the possibility of modifying child custody, support, or visitation agreements when necessary. Though your decree or order says final, it is not necessarily set in stone. Do everything you can to keep the peace and cordially co-parent after divorce, or else you may find yourself right back in court.