The Biggest Mistakes People Make During a California Divorce

Divorce is a challenging journey thay may involve emotional turmoil and complex legal considerations. From navigating custody arrangements to understanding financial implications, the divorce process can feel overwhelming. We understand the difficulties you face and are here to offer guidance and support.

To help ease your journey, we’ve compiled a list of the top 10 “Do Nots” that can significantly impact your California divorce. Whether it’s managing expectations or avoiding pitfalls like social media blunders, our goal is to empower you with the knowledge to navigate your divorce confidently. Let’s explore these critical missteps to ensure you’re equipped to make informed decisions every step of the way.

1. Do Not Hold Unrealistic Expectations

Unrealistic expectations during a divorce can lead to disappointment and frustration. It’s natural to hope for an ideal outcome, but assuming you will get everything you want without compromise is unrealistic. Whether it’s regarding the division of assets, custody arrangements, or financial support, it’s essential to approach the process with a realistic mindset.

Understand that divorce involves more than just the final settlement. There may be unexpected fees, requests from the other party, or even contentious tactics employed. Being prepared for these possibilities and maintaining flexibility can help you navigate the process more effectively. By setting realistic expectations and staying adaptable, you’ll be better equipped to handle whatever challenges arise during your divorce journey.

2. Do Not Isolate Yourself

The divorce process can feel like an isolating and lonely experience, filled with overwhelming emotions and uncertainty about the future. It’s natural to withdraw from others during this time, but isolating yourself can exacerbate feelings of loneliness and despair. One of the most common mistakes people make is to shut themselves off from their support network.

While your loved ones may not fully understand what you’re going through, they want to be there for you. It’s essential to communicate your needs openly and honestly with them.

Let them know how they can best support you during this challenging time, whether it’s by lending a listening ear, offering practical assistance, or simply providing companionship. Allowing others to support you, you’ll find strength in connection and resilience in the face of adversity.

3. Do Not Use Children Against Your Ex

One of the most damaging mistakes people make during divorce proceedings is using their children as pawns in the process. While it’s natural for emotions to run high during this challenging time, resorting to manipulation or coercion involving children can have serious legal and emotional consequences. 

We know that you most likely enter this process thinking, “I will never,” but it’s amazing what can happen during a divorce case. Your children are already grappling with the upheaval of the divorce, and involving them in parental conflicts only magnifies their emotional distress. Fortunately, California custody laws prioritize the best interest of the child. 

4. Do Not Jump Into New Relationships

Entering into new relationships during divorce proceedings can significantly affect your case. While forming new romantic connections isn’t inherently prohibited, it is essential to understand the potential consequences, particularly regarding asset division.

In California, community property laws govern the distribution of marital assets. That means using marital resources in a new relationship could impact the outcome of your divorce settlement unfavorably.

Moreover, navigating a divorce requires clarity and focus to ensure a successful outcome. Introducing new relationships into the equation can complicate matters both mentally and emotionally, potentially hindering your ability to make sound decisions and negotiate effectively.

5. Do Not Put Anything on Social Media

Social media serves various purposes but can also be a double-edged sword, especially during divorce proceedings. In today’s digital age, the online realm can easily become a battleground for contentious exchanges and emotional outbursts.

Venting frustrations or sharing personal details on public platforms can have detrimental consequences for your divorce case. Instead, consider expressing yourself privately through notes or conversations with trusted confidants. By safeguarding your online presence, you can prevent unnecessary conflicts and maintain a level of privacy during this sensitive time.

6. Do Not Rely on Verbal Promises

Verbal promises in divorce proceedings can be tempting to rely on, especially when emotions are running high and tensions are elevated. However, it’s crucial to remember that verbal agreements hold little to no legal weight in court. Even if your ex-partner promises specific outcomes or arrangements during discussion or negotiations, without a written agreement or court order, there’s no guarantee that they will follow through.

Relying solely on verbal promises can lead to misunderstandings, disputes, and disappointment. Formalizing agreements or arrangements through legally binding documents or court orders is crucial to ensure enforceability and clarity.

7. Do Not Withhold Anything From Your Attorney

When navigating divorce, transparency with your attorney is paramount. Withholding information, whether intentionally or inadvertently, can significantly hinder your case’s progress and outcome. Your attorney relies on complete and accurate information to provide you with the best legal representation possible.

To ensure the best possible outcome for your divorce case, it’s essential to maintain open communication with your attorney and disclose all relevant details, even if you believe they may be unfavorable. Remember, your attorney is there to advocate for your best interests, but they can only do so effectively with full knowledge of the facts. 

8. Do Not Ignore Finances

Ignoring finances during a divorce can have significant long-term repercussions. Financial matters, including asset division, debt allocation, spousal support, and child support, are crucial aspects of the divorce process that require careful attention and consideration.

Failing to address financial issues comprehensively can lead to unfair outcomes and financial instability post-divorce. It’s essential to gather all relevant financial documents, such as bank statements, tax returns, investment accounts, and property deeds, to thoroughly assess your financial situation.

9. Do Not Ignore Self-Care

Taking care of yourself during a divorce is paramount to navigating the process effectively and maintaining your overall well-being. Divorce can be emotionally draining, leaving you feeling overwhelmed, stressed, and vulnerable.

Self-care practices that nurture your mental, emotional, and physical health throughout this challenging time can help alleviate stress and promote a sense of balance and resilience. By investing in self-care, you can navigate the divorce process with greater clarity, strength, and resilience, ensuring that you emerge from this challenging experience with your well-being intact.

10. Do Not Hire an Inexperienced Lawyer

When facing a divorce, the importance of having an experienced and knowledgeable lawyer by your side cannot be overstated. Hiring an inexperienced lawyer can significantly impact the outcome of your case, potentially leading to costly mistakes, delays, and unfavorable results.

An experienced divorce attorney possesses a deep understanding of family law and courtroom procedures and the skills and expertise to advocate effectively for your rights and interests. They can provide invaluable guidance and support throughout the divorce process, helping you make informed decisions and achieve the best possible outcome for your situation. Don’t take chances with your future by entrusting your case to an inexperienced lawyer. 

Navigating a divorce in California is fraught with challenges, emotions, and legal complexities. By avoiding common pitfalls and following sound advice, you can safeguard your interests and achieve a smoother, more favorable outcome.

From avoiding unrealistic expectations to prioritizing self-care and choosing the proper legal representation, each decision you make can significantly impact your future. The Gorski Firm is dedicated to providing you with the support, advocacy, and expertise you need to confidently navigate your divorce and achieve the best possible results. 

Contact us today to schedule a consultation, and let us serve you in this challenging time.

Written by Vincent A. Gorski

Vincent Gorski is a Bakersfield California Family Law and Bankruptcy lawyer. He is certified by the California Board of Legal Specialization in both Family Law and Bankruptcy. He is the founder of The Gorski Firm and assists clients in complex and routine family law and bankruptcy issues. He was licensed to practice in Indiana in 2007 and California in 2009. He regularly writes on topics related to Bankruptcy and Family Law issues (divorce, custody, visitation, support, property division, etc.)

February 19, 2024

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