Key Legal Mistakes People Make During Divorce

Divorce is a very stressful time for all the parties involved. Emotions are running high for both parties, and in many cases the need for revenge is prevalent. Sadly, many legal mistakes are made because decisions are being made with emotion instead of logic. In an effort to help you get through your divorce with ease, we recommend you avoid making the following mistakes:

Type Of Divorce Proceeding

Are you using the right type of divorce proceeding for your case? Talk over your options with your attorney. You can use mediation or other forms of negotiation to settle your divorce, and this could save you a lot of time, money, and heartache.

Divorce Attorney

Have you chosen the right attorney for the job? It is important that you select an attorney that can handle your type of case. For instance, if you know that your ex-spouse is going to be aggressive, you will want to have an attorney who is equally passionate about being on your side. Additionally, going through a divorce is not the time to use a friend of the family that is a corporate lawyer. While they have the authority to do this, they may not have the experience and knowledge of current divorce proceedings to accurately represent your case.

Financial Standing

It is important that you are fully aware of your financial standings both as an individual and as a couple. Make sure you know all of your debts and assets and are aware of what income and assets your spouse separate from yours (regardless of when they were acquired). Be sure you understand any debt held jointly in your names — not knowing where you stand, and where you stood financially as a couple, could cause you problems for many years after the divorce.

Social Media

Social media is not private or protected. If you are going through a divorce, avoid posting on social media. If you must post something, do not post anything about your divorce, your current separation, your spouse, your finances, or your plans for the future. Do not post anything that could make you look bad or be used against you.

Remember: everything you say can potentially be used against you.

If you are going through a divorce, correcting any of these mistakes will help you through the entire process, but the first line of defense is always a great attorney. Make sure you seek professional assistance so you have a strong advocate on your side.

Marriage Annulments vs. Divorce

While annulments and divorces have the same result: dissolution of marriage; they are quite different. The main difference lies in how they treat the marriage itself. Much like a divorce, an annulment dissolves a marriage. However, an annulment serves (legally) as a declaration that the marriage did not happen, while a divorce is the ending of a validated marriage – with both parties returning to a single status.

Annulments

Annulments can provide relief for couples who feel that they should not have gotten married in the first place. A civil annulment treats the marriage as though it didn’t exist. Certain requirements are required to grant a civil annulment, such as:

  • Concealment: This occurs if one or both people hid important, material information, such as the fact that they had children or a felony conviction.
  • Fraud or Misrepresentation: This occurs if one or both spouses lie about something extremely important, such as the ability to have children, knowing that they cannot have children or that they are not married to somebody else.
  • Impotency: This occurs if one person is impotent and is not curable and if the other spouse didn’t know about this before getting married.
  • Incest: This occurs if the two people in the marriage have close familial relations.
  • Lack of Consent: This occurs if at least one of the parties does not have the mental capacity or ability to consent (think of minors), like if they were intoxicated at the time of marriage, or if they were forced into marriage (think shotgun wedding).
  • Misunderstanding: This occurs if there’s a misunderstanding regarding a desire to have kids.

Religious Annulment

The requirements for a religious annulment are different than those of a civil annulment. For Catholic couples, the church will grant an annulment based on factors regarding honesty, maturity, consent, motivation, capacity to be in a marriage, and emotional stability. If the diocesan tribunal grants the annulment, then both parties will be allowed to remarry in the Catholic Church.

Divorce

A divorce, on the other hand, is a legal action that’s taken between two people who are married in order to terminate the marriage. This is also called “dissolution of marriage.” No-fault laws make it possible for either party to file for a divorce with or without a “good” reason under an “irreconcilable differences” claim.

Both annulments and divorce are taxing on the couples seeking to end their partnership. It is important to seek the counsel of a professional divorce attorney, when determining the best route for an annulment or divorce.

Understanding the Basics: Divorce vs. Separation

There is a great deal of murkiness surrounding the legal implications and general understanding of what it means to be divorced versus what it means to be separated. When you couple difficult definitions with confusing legal terms, the whole situation can fast become overwhelming. Here are some definitions and basic explanations to better understand divorce vs. separation:

Divorce

Divorce is when two spouses legally are no longer married. In the eyes of the state, the marriage has ended. This differs from what is called a legal separation, where, in the eyes of the state, the two spouses are still legally married.

Separation

A legal separation may be a good idea if couples find themselves trying to work through a personal or financial issue that is impacting the marriage.

Different Styles of Separation

  • Trial Separation: This is for couples that want to test out living separately without legal implications. This is still viewed as a period of time within the marriage, and any property or debt is shared — including any newly acquired property or debt. It is not until the couple decides to legally end the marriage that this will change. Even if the marriage ultimately ends in divorce, until that time, property is viewed as shared.
  • Living Separately: Depending on what state the couple lives in, living separately can have different legal implications. For some states, living separately does not have any consequence on property division until one of the spouses gains the intent to end the marriage. All property and debt acquired from that point on is considered separate. Some states consider property and debt separate if the couple is living apart, no matter what the intent is of the couple, while other states consider property shared until a divorce complaint is officially filed with the state. If a couple is considering living in separate residences, it is a good idea to check with the state to see which ruling on the division of property is applicable.
  • Permanent Separation: A permanent separation is exactly what it sounds like; a separation for good. Most states view all property and debt acquired while permanently separated as separate property. If property is acquired while separated that is necessary for the family, then it is shared. Property and debt of this nature may include house payments, maintenance of the home, or childcare related expenses.

There are many nuances to understanding the complexities of choosing separation vs. divorce. When considering which path is best for you, it is important to contact a family law attorney and review your options.