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3 divorce mistakes you need to avoid

Ideally, if you can get through a divorce without going through actual litigation, you want to do it. You end up retaining more personal control over your future that way -- because going to court means letting the judge handle the decisions.

Unfortunately, litigation may be the only way out of a bad marriage when your spouse is unwilling to negotiate (or negotiate reasonably) and you're unwilling to walk away from everything you're due. Even if the material assets don't matter to you, there may be custody issues involving your children that lead you into court.

If that happens, avoid the following mistakes:

Don't go in without your paperwork in order

A judge wants supporting evidence to back a request. If you claim that the money in a bank account your spouse has squirreled away came from marital funds, get the documents together to prove the deposits. Similarly, if you're asking for spousal support based on a disability, make sure you have medical documentation on hand. Otherwise, you'll likely lose your request.

Don't be disrespectful

Emotions tend to ride high in family court and people have been known to misdirect their anger. Don't let your frustration at your spouse or the legal process of divorce show through disrespect to the court. Come on time, dress appropriately (as if you were going to church, a funeral or work in an office), turn off your cellphone and address all of the officers of the court in a polite tone. Even if you're frustrated, try to remember that each person there is just doing his or her job -- not personally trying to make things difficult for you.

Don't forget what's important

There are two parts to this. First, it's easy to forget something in the middle of court. Keep a notepad and make sure you write down anything that occurs to you and pass it to your divorce attorney when you can. That will help make sure that you remember everything that's important to address without needing another hearing.

Second, keep in mind that the goal of a divorce hearing is to come to a reasonable and fair solution -- not one where somebody comes out a winner and somebody else a loser. You'll have more success if you keep your goals reasonable.

Source: HuffPost, "9 Mistakes That Will End Up Costing You In Divorce Court," Brittany Wong, Jan. 29, 2018

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