Q: What is the biggest mistake people make when initiating a divorce?
A: The biggest mistake people make when initiating a divorce is thinking they can handle it without any assistance. Many people going through a divorce are concerned about attorney’s fees, and understandably so — attorneys are not inexpensive. However, divorce is not something to be taken lightly; once your property distribution is complete, there is no going back on the division. Thus, attempting to navigate the process alone without proper guidance is a big financial risk that can adversely affect the rest of your life.
Additionally, although many people think that hiring an attorney means courtrooms and litigation, nothing could be further from the truth. Attorneys are trained negotiators — it’s their job to find resolution in contentious situations. For the most part, an attorney will help you resolve your matter amicably. And in the long run, hiring an attorney could possibly save you money, especially considering the lost dollars that people suffer when they attempt to negotiate their own divorce.
Aside from the financial concerns, going through a divorce is an incredibly emotional process. Having a trusted advisor who can talk you through what the process will be like and what outcomes you can expect — acting as a steady hand as you take each step — provides invaluable piece of mind.
Even if you decide to explore mediation, arbitration or another means of alternate dispute resolution, it’s still wise to discuss the situation with an attorney who can properly advise you and make sure that any agreement you enter into is the right one.