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Why You Should Think Twice Before Being Nice in a Divorce

'Always think twice' words on a lightbox on a white wooden surface, top view. Overhead, from above, flat lay.

Making the mistake of being too nice during the divorce process could potentially bring unintended consequences. Under the best circumstances, the friendliest divorce can quickly turn nasty. Actions taken by one or both litigants to try to keep the peace or done out of feeling guilty could lead to disaster and become costly.

'Always think twice' words on a lightbox on a white wooden surface, top view. Overhead, from above, flat lay.

Underestimating Instead of Preparing for the Worst

A common mistake is trusting that the other spouse would never do anything to hurt the other. But the fact that the couple’s relationship has entered a divorce phase means that a trigger has already been pulled. It would be disingenuous for a divorce lawyer to recommend that their client completely trust his or her future ex-spouse when going into divorce proceedings, especially when child custody, home, finances, and retirement accounts are at stake. It is better to adopt the attitude of “hope for the best, plan for the worst.” Be wary of promises of future financial support like child support in exchange for not including those provisions in divorce papers.

Passing Up What is Legally Permissible

Making compromises to keep a divorce as amicable as possible is admirable. But sometimes they can backfire. In one divorce case, the husband suggested waiting to file for divorce after he found a new job because he was currently unemployed. He offered this so that the wife would be entitled to more child support and alimony. The wife also made a compromise by agreeing to alimony for only three out of the five years allowed under their state’s laws while she finished her master’s degree. However, she was sidelined for a year battling cancer. Luckily for her, the ex-husband continued to pay even though the law did not require him to do so. But this might not be the case for other divorced couples who might a similar circumstance.

Not Having Separate Lawyers

Agreeing to use the same lawyer to save money is another mistake made by divorcing couples. An attorney is required to serve the best interest of his or her client. And that client is the one who originally retained his or her services to file first for divorce. There will always be the risk that the agreements being drawn up for both clients to sign will lean toward the best interests of the original litigant.

Uncontested divorce lawyer Denise Erlich is passionate about helping divorcing couples in the greater Chicagoland area transition to their new life as seamlessly as possible. Ms. Erlich patiently guides her clients through every step of the divorce process and provides clients with candid advice about their case and legal options, so they can make informed decisions about their future.

Years of Experience: More than 20 years
Illinois Registration Status: Active
Bar & Court Admissions: Illinois State Bar Association U.S. District Court, Northern District of Illinois
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