CNN published an article about the top ten mistakes people make when in the middle of a high net worth divorce. As a family lawyer for thirty years, I maintain that the most important mistakes were listed at numbers 7 through 10! In fact, whether your situation is a high net worth divorce or not, these mistakes are reasons why most divorces cost the parties too much money because they give up assets they either don't know exist or to which they mistakenly believe they have no rights. Am I saying that people should represent themselves in a "simple" divorce? No I am not. In a future post, I will tell you why DIY is not a good idea for most people. The biggest mistakes people make in a divorce? These are the ones, I believe:
1 [formerly 7]. Listening to Friends: “My neighbor got a divorce and she got millions”; “My friend got a divorce and he didn’t have to pay a dime”. Everyone’s situation is different, and everyone’s case is different. Therefore, do not compare your case to anyone else’s. There are different judges, laws change and opposing counsel changes. No two divorces are alike. Deal with yours according to your specific circumstances, and with proper counsel and advice, you will come out ahead.
3 [formerly 9]. Getting the Toughest Lawyer: Unfortunately some people think that a lawyer who is difficult and nasty is the “best lawyer”, and will get the most for them from the other party. The truth is that this type of lawyer is making himself or herself money at your expense. Lawyers are your advocates and are hired to represent you zealously to the best of their ability – not to start fights so they can enrich themselves at your expense. A good lawyer will fight hard for you, but will not provoke or extend a fight that isn’t in your best interests.
4 [formerly 10]. Failing to Hire the Right Lawyer: It is critically important that when you are going through what is probably the most emotionally devastating experience in your life, that you have a lawyer that is going to help you think clearly, strategically and guide you through the legal minefields so that once the dust has cleared, you will have a bright and financially secure future. You may read the entire report here: Battah, Joey, Top 10 Mistakes in High Net Worth Divorces, CNN Reports, http://tinyurl.com/zqcqo2h, (January 10, 2014). Last accessed April 17, 2016.