Divorce is an intricate process that requires the careful navigation of finances, children, equities, and emotions. This complexity is amplified by the fact that no two states have identical divorce laws, making it difficult to know what to expect. In our experience as a leading Oregon family law firm, we have noticed a pattern of common mistakes people make when undergoing the divorce process. Here are the most recurring ones to help you navigate this challenging phase of your life as smoothly as possible.
Mistake #1: Allowing Emotions to Dictate Decision Making
Emotions run high during a divorce. However, decisions made from anger, guilt, or revenge can lead to unfavorable outcomes for everyone involved, including children, family members, and friends. For instance, agreeing to an unfair property settlement out of guilt or seeking punitive terms out of anger can have lasting implications. It’s crucial to approach your divorce from a rational standpoint, treating it as a business transaction to ensure that you protect your interests and don’t open yourself up to the risk of an even more stressful and acrimonious situation.
Mistake #2: Neglecting to Consider Tax Implications
In the heat of divorce, it’s easy to forget about taxes, but this is a mistake that can have long-term financial consequences. For example, spousal support payments are tax-deductible for the paying spouse in Oregon, but child support payments are not. Not factoring these implications when negotiating the terms can leave you with unexpected tax liabilities, which is the last thing you want to deal with once your divorce is finalized.
Mistake #3: Oversharing on Social Media
With our lives being spent increasingly online, it’s tempting to share your divorce journey on social media. Be aware that anything posted online can be used against you in court. Posts related to financial matters, new relationships, or negative comments about your spouse can negatively impact your divorce proceedings. Posting about your divorce may also negatively impact your ability to negotiate with your soon-to-be ex. A general rule of thumb is to keep your divorce offline.
Mistake #4: Underestimating the Value of Legal Advice
Oregon has unique divorce laws, making it paramount to work with a family law attorney who understands the local legal landscape. Some people opt to go it alone or use generic online resources in an attempt to save money. This can lead to mistakes in paperwork, ignorance of your rights, or overlooking complex issues like pensions or business interests. Investing in professional advice is essential to ensure a fair outcome. An Oregon divorce lawyer will also provide you with peace of mind throughout the process, which many divorcing spouses find priceless.
Mistake #5: Not Understanding Marital Property Laws
Oregon follows the principle of equitable distribution, which means marital assets are divided fairly, not necessarily equally. Many people wrongly assume that all property is split 50/50. It’s essential to understand how Oregon law defines marital property and its division to ensure a fair settlement. However, the court will respect any property distribution arrangement you and your spouse come up with, eliminating much of the uncertainty involved.
Mistake #6: Neglecting the Impact on Children
Divorce can be an emotional roller coaster for children. Their well-being should be a top priority throughout the process. Parents often make the mistake of involving their children in the dispute or using them as leverage. Remember that Oregon courts prioritize the best interests of the child, and any perceived manipulative behavior can backfire, impacting custody and visitation rights.
Mistake #7: Failing to Plan for Life Post-Divorce
Lastly, many people forget to plan for their financial future after the divorce. Things like restructuring budgets, considering the costs of new living arrangements, health insurance, and retirement planning are vital for your financial health post-divorce. Not doing so can lead to financial instability. An Oregon divorce lawyer can help you anticipate your post-divorce financial situation and plan accordingly.
Divorce is rarely simple, and it’s completely normal to feel overwhelmed. However, by being aware of these common mistakes, you can navigate the process with increased clarity and confidence. Remember, it’s essential to seek professional advice that is tailored to your situation as well as the specific Oregon divorce laws that will apply to your case.