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The Hawkins Law Firm

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Arab, AL 35016

Common Alabama Divorce Mistakes

Upset, frustrated little girl tired of parents fight

Even at the best of times, divorces can be, unfortunately, difficult. They represent a serious change in the lives of the parties and a change in how they view their relationship and family. If you are facing the possibility of divorce, the earlier you start planning and the earlier you get a divorce attorney to help you prepare for the process, the better. Read on for a few pitfalls to avoid in planning for and going through a divorce, and contact a seasoned Alabama divorce lawyer for help with an Alabama family law matter.

Assuming the divorce will be uncontested or that your spouse will play by the rules

You may believe that you and your spouse see eye-to-eye on the need for divorce and that the split will be amicable. Unfortunately, once questions of property division, alimony, child custody, and child support come into play, emotions can run high, even for couples who are trying to agree. Your spouse may not realize that you want shared custody or that you expect to keep the family car. It is important to plan as if you will need to contest every element of the divorce, discussing all possible matters with your attorney throughout. If you and your spouse easily agree on all matters across the negotiating table, wonderful. But if you do find points of serious contention and you have not prepared, you will be at a severe disadvantage when the matter becomes contentious.

Losing touch with your kids

If you plan to seek any type of custody as part of your Alabama divorce, it is vital that you keep in regular contact with your children throughout the divorce process. Coordinating shared custody and parenting time can be difficult, especially when you have to move out of the marital home and rely on other family for support. However, if you miss your visitation or parenting time appointments or otherwise fail to interact with your children regularly throughout the divorce, your ex will have a strong argument against you receiving the level of custody you may be seeking.

Failing to find your own Alabama divorce lawyer

It is technically possible to file for divorce on your own, without legal representation. You can go through the processes without legal help, and you may think it will save you time and money, especially if the divorce is uncontested. You may even rely on your spouse’s lawyer to fill out all the paperwork. This is a mistake. You need a legal representative dedicated to protecting your interests.

Divorce involves a lot of legal hoops and hurdles, as well as financial analyses and legal issues. Relying on your spouse’s lawyer means losing out on having a voice in your corner throughout the whole process. Your spouse’s lawyer has a duty only to your spouse, not to you, even if that means getting you to sign a lopsided divorce settlement. If you suddenly realize you are not getting a fair deal, you will be far behind in preparing a proper defense of your side of the matter. It is important to have a strong legal advocate in your corner from day one.

Retaining a lawyer does not mean the matter will become contested. On the contrary, having a good lawyer on each side is one of the best ways to keep the matter civil and reach agreement on various matters quickly and smoothly. But, if the parties should disagree, you need your own attorney to protect your interests.

Badmouthing your ex publicly or to your children

No matter how hotly contested your divorce may be, it is important to avoid telling the world how much you hate your spouse. Social media posts tearing apart your spouse may feel justified and vindicating, but they can be used against you when evaluating the finances of your divorce or determining custody.

Moreover, under no circumstances should you berate your ex to your children. Alabama courts will view such behavior as doing much more harm than good to your children’s emotional health, and it may be used as evidence against you in determining custody or visitation. Your Alabama divorce and child custody lawyer can help you determine what is and what is not helpful or appropriate to say publicly or to your children when it comes to dealing with your former spouse.

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