Common Mistakes to Avoid During a Utah Divorce

Common Mistakes to Avoid During a Utah Divorce

Divorce is hard enough, but it becomes even more difficult if you fall into a few common pitfalls that have plagued many.  If you’re going through a divorce in Utah, it’s important to know some of these common mistakes so you can make the process smoother and ensure that you get the outcome that you want. Here’s what to avoid: 

1. Failing to Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney

One of the biggest mistakes that you can make during a divorce is to fail to hire an experienced divorce attorney. The most frustrating cases we deal with are not the ones where an experienced attorney is on the other side; it’s the ones where there’s an attorney on the other side who doesn’t have experience in the courtroom and, therefore, can’t reasonably anticipate the outcome, is giving their client bad advice, and needlessly costing the divorcing spouses thousands of dollars in unnecessary litigation.  Skilled and experienced divorce attorneys know what the likely outcomes are, can negotiate fair deals, protect your rights, and help you get the best possible outcome.  

Along these lines, we rarely clean up bigger messes than when we try to fix divorces that people tried to do on their own.  Doing your own divorce is kind of like doing your own surgery: you may get the job done, but the long-term and unintended consequences can come back to haunt you.  We make more money fixing people’s bad divorces than we do doing them right the first time.  To save yourself money and future heartache, hire a good attorney at the outset.  

2. Letting Your Emotions Take Over

Of course, divorce is a highly emotional time, and for many, it’s the most traumatizing thing they’ve ever been through.  It’s easy to let your emotions take over. However, it’s important to try to keep a level head during this time. Don’t let your anger or frustration get the best of you, as this can lead to poor decisions that can have long-lasting consequences. Instead, try to focus on the end goal, have your attorney educate you on the law and the possible outcomes, and then work to take your future into your own hands.  

3. Failing to Disclose All Assets and Debts

During a divorce, it’s essential to be honest and open about all assets and debts. Failing to disclose all assets and debts can result in serious legal problems.  First and foremost, lying can result in you losing credibility with the court—when that happens, you may never win them back over.  Second, under Utah Divorce law, your spouse can be awarded 100% of the assets you failed to disclose.  Make sure that you are upfront about everything, and be prepared to provide documentation to support your claims.

4. Refusing to Negotiate

Another common mistake that people make during a divorce is refusing to negotiate. Negotiating is not a sign of weakness, and it doesn’t mean you need to bend to your spouse’s will either.  A fair negotiation occurs when you’re fighting for what you’re owed under the law; unfair negotiation is when your spouse is trying to force you to give up what you’re entitled to or when you’re fighting for more than what you’re entitled to under the law and you won’t settle for anything less.  While it’s important to stand up for your rights, it’s also important to recognize that divorce almost never results in one party walking away with everything and the other party walking away with nothing.  Refusing to negotiate can lead to a long and bitter court battle, which can be costly and emotionally draining. I’d say the only people that win in these kinds of divorces are the attorneys, but even attorneys don’t like long and bitter court battles.  Try to work to find a solution that works for both parties.

5. Putting Your Children in the Middle

Divorce can be particularly tough on children, and it’s important to do everything you can to minimize their stress and anxiety and insulate them from the conflict with your ex. Parents often recklessly or unknowingly put their children in the middle of the divorce. This can be done by badmouthing the other parent in front of the children (i.e., when talking to your family members or friends), using them as messengers, or saying subtle things to try and turn them against the other parent. Remember, your children love both of you, and they need more love and support from both parents during the divorce than they did prior to the divorce.  

6. Not Considering the Future

When going through a divorce, it can be easy to get caught up in the present moment and forget to consider the future. It’s important to remember that the terms of your divorce will have a long-term impact on your life. Make sure you think carefully about your future needs and goals before agreeing to any terms.

For example, if you have children, it’s important to consider their future needs. Don’t just think about what your children need now, but think about what they will need three years from now, five years from now, and when they’re nearly 18 years old. You don’t want to have to come back to court years down the road to try and get provisions added to your Decree of Divorce that could’ve been included at the time of the divorce.  

It’s also important to think about your own long-term financial goals. Do you plan to buy a house in the future? If so, maybe you need to negotiate for more cash on hand instead of retirement.  Will you need to save for retirement, or does your employer have a good retirement contribution plan?  If not, you may want to negotiate for a larger sum of the retirement money in the marital estate.  

7. Don’t Ignore the Emotional Impact of Divorce

In addition to your children and future financial considerations, it’s also important to think about the emotional impact of the divorce on you.  Even if the divorce is amicable, it can still be a difficult and emotional process. Make sure you have a support system in place, practice self-care, continue to make an effort towards your friends, continue to do the things that you enjoy, and consider seeking therapy or counseling if needed.

By considering both your immediate and long-term needs and goals, you can ensure that you are making informed decisions during the divorce process and setting yourself up for a successful future.

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