NAPLES, Fla. – I call it “The Divorce Paradox.” The paradox in divorce is that during the worst emotionally traumatic time in your life, you also have to make the most critical decisions in your life. And with 50 percent of first marriages failing, 60 percent of second marriages and, more than 70 percent of third marriages biting the dust, a large number of us will experience this paradox.
This is the first of a two-part series where I will share secrets: the top 10 biggest mistakes both sexes can make during a divorce. So, ladies first: You get the spotlight this week. Men: Your tips will come Nov. 9.
10. Not knowing your financial picture. Understanding your marital assets and what you both earn is a tremendous plus. If you don’t know what you have, knowing where it is, i.e. which banks or financial institutions, helps speed up the divorce process, too.
9. Not being prepared for divorce. You will need funds to live on and to hire an attorney. These funds will have to last until a judge grants temporary support for you, if your husband won’t pay it willingly.
8. Not having a temporary living plan of action. While the case is pending, what will your living situation be? Your lawyer can help you develop a solution.
7. Meeting your husband alone to “discuss settlement.” Husbands are notorious for cornering the wives without an attorney present to control the situation and get wives to agree to settle for less.
6. Letting emotions control. This can go either way — giving in because you just want it over, or not giving in because you want revenge. Settlement decisions should come from a rational review of facts and practical application of the current law.
5. Not having a plan for after the divorce. It is critical to choose a place to live, create a budget, choose a financial planner and have a strong support system in place.
4. Taking things personally. Husbands who have been successful are masters at controlling their emotions, and once the divorce process is underway, this becomes a business deal to him. Women can take a page from that book and learn to negotiate that way, too.
3. Settling for less. Women are usually guilty of this more often than men. They just want it over so they give in, only to regret it later.
2. Sweating the small stuff. Women don’t want the guys to get away with anything, so they jump on every little thing sometimes. Focus on winning the war, not every battle.
1. Confusing divorce law with “divorce justice.” This is especially pertinent if there a husband who has violated what I call the Three Deadly Sins of Marriage or the Three As — abuse, addiction and adultery. These wives have suffered and now think husbands should pay, but oftentimes once the law is applied, the wives don’t feel they have been punished enough. Divorce “law” wasn’t created to punish but to achieve an equitable result.
Rebecca Zung, a family law attorney, is a founding partner of the Law Office of Zung Clough, PLLC in Naples. As a renowned divorce authority, she helps clients transform and rebuild their lives. Her book, “Breaking Free: A Step-by-Step Divorce Guide to Emotional, Physical and Spiritual Freedom,” is available on amazon.com. Contact Zung at ZungFamilyLaw.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.