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The 5 biggest mistakes people make during divorce, and how to avoid them

By Avika Bhardwaj March 16, 2017
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If you're going through a divorce... do it the right way

The rate of divorce has increased heavily in Australia, with 48,000 occurring in 2015 alone, affecting up to 42,000 children. To help you steer clear of the biggest mistakes to avoid during a divorce, we asked Rachael Scharrer, founder of online resource Divorce Answered. She shared her top five tips below.

1. Not getting a lawyer

Having direction from professional legal counsel is essential, even if you are self-representing. It’s important to know what information is relevant and useful to bring to court as judges’ patience can wear thin quite quickly.

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2. (Mis)using the kids

If divorce is a game of chess, the children are not the pawns. Don’t pass messages through the children or use them as a therapist. Oversharing with kids may be considered a form of child abuse. Don’t let children make decisions or manipulate them against the other parent. Also don’t speak poorly of the other parent in the presence of the child or children. Ensure that children are allowed to be kids and protect them from any adversity between the situation.

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3. Not negotiating

Being unwilling to negotiate can result in a negative financial outcome. Don’t let pessimistic feelings or issues get in the way or affect the choices you make during negotiations. Carefully consider all offers for negotiation before making a decision. Don’t intentionally block funds to ‘crush’ your ex-spouse, as this is considered a form of domestic violence and financial abuse.

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4. Intentional debt

Running up debt on purpose prior to financial settlement is not a good idea. Avoid buying unnecessary and expensive possessions or renting an extravagant property ‘just because you can.’ Be mindful not to rack up a huge debt with your lawyer either. If you declare bankruptcy, your legal fees and child support are not excused.

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5. Giving up

Don’t play victim, become passive, and give up. Signing everything over to an ex-spouse is generous but also defeatist. This is not a fair and equitable outcome for you.

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And Scharrer's biggest tip?

Make sure to research all possible outcomes of your divorce and don't let it overtake your life too much.

Images: Getty/Peter Dazeley