Going through the process of divorce in Rhode Island can be an emotionally trying experience. After all, no one goes into marriage with the thought of divorce looming in their minds. While it can often times be difficult to see the forest for the trees, approaching a Providence family Court divorce with a level head will help ensure you get the settlement you deserve. Below are ten common mistakes people make during divorce proceedings in Rhode Island Family Court, and tips to avoid these pitfalls.
1. Refusing to Consider Mediation
Mediation isn’t the right choice for all divorcing couples in RI, but experts seem to agree that mediation could be potentially useful in many divorce cases. Not only could mediation save you a great deal of money in legal fees, but it will allow you and your spouse to come up with a plan in terms of finances and child custody that fits your particular family’s needs. Mediation should occur with both parties represented by Rhode Island divorce lawyers. The Providence divorce attorneys do not need to be present for the mediation session but need to review the proposed memorandum of understanding resulting from the divorce mediation prior to the parties signing it. The Rhode Island divorce lawyers may suggest changes or edits and even may advise you to halt mediation and commence the litigation process. Also, it is very helpful for the client to consult with an East Providence matrimonial lawyer prior to commencing mediation to determine the contours of the divorce mediation and what is a fair and equitable settlement under the circumstances.
2. Failing to Use a Financial Adviser
When you are going through a Providence Family Court divorce, you’ll be required to submit a financial statement to the courts. This budget is a statement of needs and expenses and assets and can be important to determine temporary maintenance, alimony and even child support. Many divorcing parties in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations make the mistake of submitting their own financial statement (DR6) without consulting with an attorney or financial adviso, from their viewpoint and they often times underestimate the cost of living. Experts suggest sitting down with a financial adviser or even a CPA.
3. Getting too Emotionally Attached to Items or the marital home
Divorce proceedings in Rhode Island are an emotional time for everyone involved. So emotional, in fact, that people often make the mistake of digging in over items they have an emotional attachment to, without realizing how such a strategy could be costly in the end. For example, if you are fighting to keep the marital home, you may fail to realize you simply can not afford it, even with the divorce settlement. It is best to take a step back and look at the situation objectively.
4. Overusing Your Lawyer
Only use your Rhode Island divorce lawyer when you truly need him or her, because billable hours add up quickly. Divorce lawyers have often found themselves in the precarious position of playing family therapist to their clients. This is not what they are there for. If you need to talk about your emotions, go to a close friend, or find a certified psychologist.
5. Trying to “Punish” Your Ex
Because emotions run so high in divorce proceedings, it isn’t uncommon for one party to attempt to “punish” their spouse during the proceedings. While this may feel good at the time, you’ll only hurt yourself in the end, advise experts. When dealing with divorce proceedings, it is best to do so with civility. Nonetheless, in certain cases, it is crucial that you are aggressive when needed.
6. Forgetting to Consider Taxes
More than one ex-spouse has gotten burned by forgetting to take into account potential tax implication they would have to pay on marital assets. Experts all seem to agree that the emotion of a divorce can blind many people to the financial aspects of divorce. In some cases your Providence family court lawyer may believe it is best to work with a tax professional to suss out the after-tax value of any settlement before accepting the offer.
7. Remaining in the Dark
Often times when one party is blindsided by a divorce, they can’t see anything beyond the hurt. They make a conscious or subconscious decision to remain in the dark about everything but the basics of the Rhode Island divorce. This can come back to haunt you in the end if you choose to shield yourself from the reality of the situation. Do make copies of all financial papers you can find, and submit them to your Providence divorce lawyer as soon as possible.
8. Failure to Develop a Post-Divorce Budget
After the divorce is said and done, many people forget to put together a budget that takes into account their divorce settlement and their earning potential going forward. Experts suggest talking to a financial professional to come up with a budget that will work for you, post-divorce.
9. Holding onto the Past
Holding onto the past can hurt you emotionally, and it can hurt your Providence Family Court divorce case, too. Courts generally don’t care about every conceived wrong during a marriage, so bringing them up will do little for your case. Experts suggest letting go of the past and going into a divorce with your eyes set on the future.
10. Using the Kids as Pawns
A RI divorce can be an emotionally difficult time for the children involved, so don’t use the children as pawns. When divorces get very emotional, the ones who suffer the most are usually the children. While your marriage is ending, your relationship with the mother or the father of your children is not, so avoid involving the children in a negative way.