Top Ten Divorce Mistakes


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It's easy to make mistakes in a divorce.  Sometimes a lawyer fails to recognize these errors, but more often people try to represent themselves and don't even know their blunder.  Here are the top mistakes:

1. Not knowing that a retirement asset can be divided.  This is a mistake that happens every day. The couple are in their 30s, 40s, or even in their 50s, and while they know one of them has a 401(k), they fail to mention dividing that asset in their decree becaus they don't believe they can access the funds.  The reality is that these assets are divisable and can be accessed through the use of a QDRO. See our full website about QDROS and how they work.

2. Lumping together child support and spousal maintenance (alimony) and calling the total amount to be paid as "child support" in their Decree.  When and if you do that, you're actually waiving off spousal support and can never get it. So, a few months after the decree is entered, your spouse will seek to modifiy child support because it's set too high.  You'll go into court and claim that it's high because the spousal support is mixed into the number and the Judge will rule against you. Very common mistake.

3.  Signing a quit claim deed or disclaimer Deed.  These types of deeds are common when getting a refinance done on your house.  Often times, spouses convince you to sign these types of deeds. Do not sign these types of deeds (even for a refinance) unless your spouses pre-signs a deed for you that puts the house back into your name.  After the refinance is done, you can record the deed that puts you back on the Deed. If you don't you could be waiving off the largest asset of your marriage.

4.  Negotiating child support against assets.  This is a very common mistake where the recipient agrees to take a larger than normal amount of child support in exchange of giving the other parent an asset that would have otherwise had to be divided.  After the divorce is over and the smoke clears, you find out that the child support can be modified back to a normal amount, but you can't get the credit for the asset you gave to your spouse.  

5.  Not properly conducting discovery in your case.  Often times, when people represent themselves, they simply don't know how to conduct discovery and often times have no idea what assets and income are subject to division in their case.  

6.  By far the most common mistake is not bringing in a lawyer until it's too late.  Often my office is approached by people that desparately want to hire a lawyer but because they waiting until weeks (sometimes days) prior to the trial, they realize it's too late or too expensive.  A lawyer's craft takes time to manipulate the outcome of a case, and rarely will a lawyer take a case just a few days or few weeks to trial without a hefty retainer. If you're looking to save money on hiring a lawyer, it's not intuitive, but hiring one sooner is actually cheaper than hiring one near the end of your case. 


This page remains under construction.  Check back on January 16th, when it's scheduled to be completed.   

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