Divorce can be an overwhelming and upsetting process. It is not something that people generally have much practice in doing, as statistically, most people going through a divorce are doing it for the first and only time. Therefore, it is quite common that mistakes or oversights can be made along the way as spouses battle their emotions.


With countless years of experience of guiding people through their divorces, the Lamb Brooks Family Law Team share their thoughts on some of the most common mistakes that couples make whilst going through divorce.


10 Common Divorce Mistakes


#1 Failing to Sever Financial Ties


It is a misconception that once you are officially divorced and the decree absolute is received, that you are financially free from your ex-spouse. After your separation is complete you need to apply for a financial order to ensure that any financial obligations between you and your ex are cut.


It is very important not to miss this step as it can mean that your ex-spouse could make a financial claim in the future. Even if you believe that you have agreed on finances amicably, if one person comes into money or circumstances for one party change, there is no guarantee that you will be protected without a financial order or clean break order.


#2 Overlooking Pensions


Aside from property, pensions are often the next biggest asset a couple may have. Pensions can be overlooked as being personal assets or being too complex to deal with, however it is vital to consider your financial position later in life once you have stopped working and how you will support yourself.


Upon separation, there can often be an imbalance of pension provision between the separating couple, more commonly in the favour of the husband (but this is not always the case) which needs addressing. There are a few different options for tackling pension sharing in divorce and your solicitor will be able to advise you on what suits your circumstances best.  If a party has particularly valuable pension rights, eg final salary pensions, it is important that these are properly looked at.


#3 Taking Advice From The Internet / Social Media or Friends & Family


Each separation is unique, so what worked well for one couple may not be appropriate for the next. Whilst support from friends and family is invaluable during difficult times, try to balance their advice with that of a professional. The law can change frequently, and it is important not to listen to out-dated advice, which may be tainted with their own personal battles.


The internet is a good source of information however, you must take care not to act upon any legal or financial advice from websites as it is not personal to your circumstances and could be out of date.


#4 Going Straight to Court


Emotions can be heightened, and many people can think that the only way to resolve a dispute is to ‘have their day in court’ when going through a bitter or difficult divorce. There are several alternatives to a court hearing which can be more amicable, less stressful and more cost effective than making applications to court.


It is worth exploring these alternatives as they can help you achieve a better result, particularly if you have children together and wish to retain a co-parenting relationship and get the best outcome for your family. Sometimes court is the only option or ends up being the last resort if your spouse is uncooperative.


#5 Doing it by Yourself


Going through a divorce is one of the most difficult things to do. Ensure you get the right support from friends, family, colleagues and professionals. There is a lot of paperwork involved when getting divorced, financial declarations need to be made, arrangements for children where necessary and the process can be quite laborious.


Some people will believe that they can represent themselves in their divorce and save money on legal fees, however, this can have the opposite effect and they could walk away from their relationship without getting a fair outcome for their future if they haven’t appointed a solicitor to look out for their best interests.


frustrated man with hand over his eyes divorce separation common divorce mistakes

#6 Involving Children in Your Disputes


For families going through separation, it is crucial to protect the children’s feelings and shield them from anything that will cause them pain or confusion. Depending on the age of children there will be different ways to discuss divorce with them and various ways to support them throughout.


Parental alienation can occur when parents purposely, or inadvertently share details of their arguments or separation that will influence the children to take sides or react in certain ways. This can break down the relationship between family members further and make the divorce process more painful for everyone involved.


#7 Not Looking After Your Mental Health


Divorce can take its toll emotionally and physically. Stress, anger and upset can cause difficulty sleeping at night and anxiety. This can lead to problems with eating, taking care of yourself, impact your relationships with others and more serious mental health problems.


It is important to take time for some self-care throughout the divorce process. Making sure you eat healthily, get regular exercise and avoid overindulging in alcohol. Taking good care of yourself will also help you to process your emotions, think clearly and communicate better, which all helps you to achieve a more favourable outcome and recover after divorce. Seek help and reach out if you find yourself struggling to cope.


#8 No Financial Planning


It is sensible to have a clear understanding of your financial position at all times, but when you are going through a divorce it is vital to know what your financial obligations and requirements are. After divorcing it is also wise to seek professional advice on your personal finances in order to take stock and make a new start.


#9 Assuming How Your Spouse Will React


Many people seeking early divorce advice believe that they know exactly how difficult their ex-spouse will be and what their demands or sticking points will be when it comes to negotiations. However, it is quite fascinating how people can change and start to back down and listen to advice once the process has started. Of course, this is not the case all the time and sometimes it can go the other way, but it is important not to assume that all is lost because often a resolution can be found eventually.


#10 Moving on Without Protecting Yourself


It is great when a client finds a new relationship after going through a divorce but there are some pitfalls to be wary of. It is important to make sure the divorce is properly finalised and that you have a financial order or clean break order in place before remarrying.


It is important to update your will and if you do start living together, consider a cohabitation agreement, a declaration of trust or a pre-nuptial agreement to protect yourself and your family.


Divorce Advice From Trusted Solicitors


If you are thinking about divorce or are ready to start proceedings, then please get in touch to book an initial appointment with one of our Family Law Solicitors.


We can also help if you are already divorced but looking to take care of other matters such as a financial order, pre-nuptial agreement, cohabitation agreement, transferring equity, selling your marital home, buying a new house, or making a will.


Please call us on 01256 844888 or email enquiries@lambbrooks.com for some expert advice and peace of mind.


Other Articles You May Be Interested in Reading:

As Lockdown Lifts is it Time to Leave Your Marriage?

How to Have a Healthy Divorce

7 Ways to Thrive After Divorce


The contents of this article are for the purposes of general awareness only. They do not purport to constitute legal or professional advice.  The law may have changed since this article was published.   Readers should not act on the basis of the information included and should take appropriate professional advice upon their own particular circumstances.