Top-Rated, Experienced Divorce Attorney Serving Washington, Waukesha, Dodge and Ozaukee Counties
If you are seeking an attorney to protect your legal interests relative to divorce, legal separation or annulment, Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C., with offices in Germantown, West Bend, Appleton and Sister Bay, Wisconsin, is the answer to your search. Evaluating and litigating your divorce case requires an experienced attorney. The attorneys at Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. have many years of experience in handling divorce cases, including property division, business valuations, contested child custody and placement cases, support, debt allocation, appellate advocacy, collateral criminal matters that occur in family law cases such as domestic violence and retraining orders and related issues. Vanden Heuvel & Dineen lawyers provide you with educational information to aid you in your divorce action.
10 Divorce Mistakes That Could Cost You A Fortune
Mistake #1: Failing to understand the legal process. It is essential that you hire an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through your divorce.
Mistake #2: Confusing your need for emotional divorce and recovery with the business decisions of separating assets and debts fairly. The legal process of divorce deals with assets, debts, support and caring for your children, etc. Emotional issues must be addressed with family, friends or a therapist.
Mistake #3: Forgetting to weigh the cost vs. the benefit of each contested decision. Some things are worth the fight. Others aren't. Always weigh the cost of the fight against the benefit you will derive if successful in your efforts.
Mistake #4: Putting too much emotional value on winning the final contest with your spouse. Or, even worse, hurting your spouse--rather than assuring yourself a good situation when your divorce is completed. You're wrong to view your divorce as a contest. You're wrong to try to hurt your spouse. After the divorce has ended, you will want a good, positive environment in which you and your ex-spouse can raise your children.
Mistake #5: Hiding assets, cheating and lying. If your spouse suspects you are being dishonest, your spouse will tell his/her attorney, who will probably figure out at great expense how to prove your deceit.
Mistake #6: Believing that to win the children, the children must lose the other parent. The greater the individual "win," the greater your children's injury and loss.
Mistake #7: Deciding to fight everything. The greater the fight, the more costly the process becomes and the more you pay in legal fees and costs. Fighting over every asset often assures that some assets will be sold to pay for the fight.
Mistake #8: Failing to keep a journal. In a highly contested case, the details of what happened can be particularly important. A journal that contains all the daily events surrounding the divorce will be invaluable when you want to remember what has occurred.
Mistake #9: Believing you don't need help to protect yourself from further injury. If you believe your spouse will take care of you in your divorce, your spouse will, but not in the way that you want. You need to take control of and make each business decision involved in your separation and divorce. These decisions form the foundation for the initial success or difficulty of your separate life.
Mistake #10: Not moving quickly to divide assets and separate fairly. Often early in the divorce process, people can fairly divide property. Fear of further pain, confusion and not knowing what you want for yourself can cause conflict over items of small value. Avoid a final contest of wills. If your spouse feels a victory in accomplishing what is for you a quick and painless decision, good. If your spouse feels a win in a decision in which you win too, good. Make decisions that care for you. And leave your spouse's feelings about winning or losing to your spouse.
Dear Reader: We know we promised you 10 divorce mistakes, but we thought of several more. So here are 12 more, on the house! -Linda and Lisa
Mistake #11: Not taking the time to assure yourself that everything is fair. You need to review each decision with your own internal sense of fairness. Also, you need to review the fairness of each decision with your attorney or, if you are representing yourself, with someone whose purpose is to help you review decisions impartially--separate from your injured feelings.
Mistake #12: Trying to be sure every detail is fair and in place. Separate the business decisions in divorce from the emotional choices, pain and recovery. If you are concerned with every detail, you may be forgetting the resulting expense in attorney's fees. You may be acting with the fear that unless you nail down every detail, you might be hurt again by your soon-to-be ex. But in reality, you must also make a business decision about when enough is enough.
Mistake #13: Believing "supportive" comments of friends about not "getting taken" and what a jerk your spouse is. Deal with your pain separately. Each attempt to "get" your spouse may boomerang and further injure you. When divorce is at hand, you need to end the injury. That means ending all efforts aimed at your spouse other than communications of sorrow, mutual loss and support for your spouse's relationship with the children.
Mistake #14: Getting divorce advice from family and friends. No doubt you will hear a lot of urban legends about divorce law. Many of them are not correct. While your family may have good intentions and want to help you, that does not change the fact that many things they tell you may not be accurate. Just because your friend got the house in his/her divorce does not mean that you will too. The only reliable source of divorce information is your lawyer.
Mistake #15: Failing to start with a realistic vision or goal of what you want when the divorce is over. Know what you need emotionally and in the form of money or property to succeed in your separate life. Aim each decision at accomplishing those goals.
Mistake #16: Being generous to win back your spouse. This does not work. If your marriage is over, no amount of generosity will win your spouse back.
Mistake #17: Overlooking the mediation option. Mediation is where you and your spouse, together with a mediator, discuss the issues you face in hopes of reaching an acceptable agreement. The mediator is a neutral third party who helps you and your spouse work towards a reasonable solution of the issues in your divorce. In many cases, mediation may be the quickest and cheapest way of reaching an agreement with your spouse. And because mediation is often times a more viable option then trial, you avoid much of the emotional trauma that you and your children might otherwise have to endure.
Mistake #18: Choosing the wrong attorney. Hiring a lawyer is a decision that deserves a great deal of research and attention. It's easy to choose the attorney whose office is closest to your home. But what you really want is the lawyer who has the knowledge, skill, judgment and experience to get you through the divorce process with the least negative impact on your children, your finances and your emotions. Make sure the lawyer is someone you trust, someone you like and someone on whom you can depend on for competent advice. Make sure your attorney is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell.
Mistake #19: Not following your lawyer's advice. During a divorce, you'll get advice from nearly everyone you know, and perhaps even people you don't know. Remember: Divorce is a legal process and the person best trained and experienced to handle the legal process is your lawyer. When selecting a lawyer, make sure you choose an attorney you trust. Then, when your lawyer gives you advice, follow it. Certainly, as the client, you should ask questions if your lawyer suggests something you don't understand or something with which you disagree. Add to this the emotional roller-coaster ride of divorce, and you'll probably find times you're confused or not thinking clearly. This is natural and normal. Also, that's another reason to trust your lawyer to help you make clear decisions based on his/her experience. You may want to take more risks than your attorney recommends. That's okay. But be sure your attorney explains and you understand the possible consequences of those risks. Obviously, the more experience your attorney has, the more likely that he/she can help you make good decisions.
Mistake #20: Failing to write out a plan to help you with your emotional pain and recovery. Your divorce is the legal process of dividing your assets and debts and creating a plan to care for your children. Your divorce does not include setting up a recovery plan to work with your emotions. Make sure you take specific steps to deal with your emotions. A good attorney can make helpful suggestions in these areas and generally refer you to a therapist.
Mistake #21: Making decisions that don't make sense when you evaluate them based on their costs and benefits. It does not make good business sense to "win" your battle and then bankrupt yourself with huge attorney's fees. Nor does it make sense to fight over assets you will later have to sell to pay your attorney. Look at all decisions from the standpoint of their cost and benefit. If you aren't sure what to do in a particular situation, ask your lawyer for his/her input.
Mistake #22: Being overly concerned about your spouse's feelings. It's natural that you are concerned about your spouse because going through a divorce is difficult for both of you. But if you spend your energy trying to look out for your spouse, you'll end up shortchanging yourself and your children. Your spouse should assemble a support system that includes a therapist, lawyer, friends and others. They will do what they can to make your spouse's life easier. You make sure that you take care of yourself and your children and leave your spouse's needs to others.
Provided as an educational service by
the Law Firm of Vanden Heuvel + Dineen, S.C.
Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C. represents both men and women. Experienced in all aspects of divorce and family law, the attorneys of Vanden Heuvel & Dineen are dedicated to excellence in the practice of divorce law and the commitment to its clients. Established in 1982, Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C.'s lawyers have extensive experience and provide superior, highly skilled and experienced team response to basic as well as complex or multi-faceted cases.
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