Divorce is likely to be one of the most challenging experiences of your entire life, regardless of how convinced you are that your marriage definitely needs to end. Whether you’re divorcing over an acute issue such as infidelity or spousal abuse or if you and your partner have simply drifted apart and no longer wish to continue your marriage, it’s important to know how your divorce proceedings are likely to unfold and what you can expect from the process.

Unfortunately, many people facing divorce proceedings make critical mistakes that impact their lives for years to come. Divorce can dredge up painful and powerful emotions in people, and some may be unable to rationally see their way through divorce. Having an experienced attorney on your side for this difficult process is a tremendous asset, but it is also vital to know what not to do when you are bracing for your divorce.

Do Not Attempt to Hide Assets

One of the most contentious issues related to divorce is property division. Every state upholds unique laws concerning property division, and Illinois enforces equitable distribution. This means there is an expectation for divorcing spouses to share marital property in the most equitable way possible. This does not mean both spouses will receive 50% of the marital property each, as is the case in states that enforce community property laws. Unfortunately, property division often encourages some divorcing spouses to take drastic and unethical actions to preserve their personal wealth, namely hiding assets.

If you are tempted to hide assets to prevent them from being subject to equitable distribution in a Bloomington, IL divorce case, do not give into this temptation. Eventually, your hidden assets will come to light, and you could face criminal prosecution for hiding them. Your behavior could also influence a family court order that was issued without complete information. For example, if you were required to pay alimony but failed to properly disclose all of your income, once the truth is revealed, you may owe your ex back payment based on what you should have been paying.

Do Not Post About Your Case Online

Social media is a stress outlet for many Americans. They can seek support from others during difficult times and find answers to their questions from a wide breadth of experienced users. However, social media should generally be avoided whenever you are involved in any active legal case. While you may want to vent your frustrations or share your thoughts about the divorce process on your social media profiles, this can work against you in surprising ways. Remember that everything you post to social media is essentially published publicly, so it is possible for your spouse to use your social media posts against you during divorce proceedings. Feel free to passively browse your social media feeds, but refrain from posting any content until after you finalize your divorce.

Do Not Try to Weaponize Your Children

Divorcing is hard enough, but it is vastly more challenging when the divorcing couple has children together. Your divorce may take a significant toll on you, but it will be exponentially worse for your kids, especially if they are too young to understand what is happening. One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when it comes to divorce is attempting to turn their kids against their other parent. Even if you are convinced that you are a more capable parent than your soon-to-be ex-spouse, there is no reason for you to interfere with your kids’ relationship with their other parent unless the other parent is a clear danger to them in any way.

Some divorcing parents will lie about their spouses to their children to cultivate favor with their kids, but this will backfire tremendously. If your children ever discover that you lied to them about their other parent for your own personal gain, this revelation could impact their trust in you. It could irreparably damage your relationships with your children. Help your children make sense of the situation and consistently remind them that your divorce is between you and your spouse.

Do Not Forego Legal Counsel

One of the biggest mistakes anyone can make when approaching the divorce process is to overlook the importance of legal representation. Although you may believe that you can handle your divorce on your own, the reality is that you are likely to overlook critical legal considerations and important details that may have tremendous influence on your future. It’s best to approach this situation armed with good information and the peace of mind that comes with having a reliable attorney on your side.

A good attorney can help you determine the best approach to your divorce. For example, divorce litigation may take months or even years to complete, but if you and your spouse are willing to negotiate, the two of you could complete divorce mediation within a few weeks or months instead. Your attorney can also be a valuable point of reference to ensure you do not agree to one-sided or unreasonable divorce terms.

Handling divorce on your own could potentially save you some money on legal fees, but the tradeoff is significant. You could potentially agree to a divorce settlement that appears fine at first glance but actually imposes significant issues on you for the future. Ultimately, one of the worst mistakes you can make concerning divorce in Bloomington, IL is failing to secure legal counsel as soon as possible.

Don’t Delay in Finding Your Legal Team

Time is a critical factor in any legal case, and divorce is no exception. Whether you want to get the process over with as quickly as possible or if you do not want to divorce and are dreading its finalization, it’s best to start working on your side of the divorce as soon as possible. Once you or your spouse have submitted your divorce petition to the Bloomington family court, it’s time to contact an experienced divorce attorney who can represent you throughout your divorce proceedings. The sooner you reach out to an experienced Bloomington, IL divorced attorney, the sooner they can begin gathering evidence and documentation to support you through the various stages of your case.