Top Mistakes to Avoid When Considering Divorce or Separation
January 8, 2016
North Conway, NH – Happy New Year! Or is it? With the dawn of the New Year and the passing of the holiday season, January often brings thoughts of divorce or separation. The family law attorneys at Cooper Cargill Chant share the top mistakes to avoid if you’re in this situation:
- Taking less than you are entitled to in an effort to “get out” quickly. Often, one or both parties have decided they simply “want out” and will take anything- even much less than they are entitled to – in order to finalize a divorce quickly. Then, months or even years later, that person will realize they compromised too much, and agreed to far less than they were entitled to.
- Using the kids as leverage for financial advantages. Divorcing spouses often fall into the trap of utilizing the children as bargaining chips when contemplating financial separation- “I’ll give you more time with the kids if you give me more of the equity in the house”; “I will fight for custody of the kids unless you agree to pay me alimony” or similar proposals. Using your kids in this way minimizes the relationship each parent has with their children and will only likely lead to resentment down the road.
- Bringing fault grounds as a way to “punish” the other spouse. Sometimes, very rarely, divorces brought on fault grounds may be advantageous. However, in the vast majority of cases, bringing a divorce on fault grounds only results in making an already acrimonious proceeding even more acrimonious, and does not result in any benefit to either party. Focusing on “punishing” the other spouse does not promote settlement but rather encourages litigation.
- Drafting final Parenting Plans and Decrees with confusing language. Often, if parties in a divorce opt not to have lawyers represent them, they draft their own final documents for submission to Court. Using unclear language (“as the parties agree”) or undefined terms (“upon the sale of the home”) often lead to more Court involvement down the road, which could be avoided with properly drafted settlement language the first time around.
- Not hiring a lawyer to, at the very least, review and draft agreements before they are submitted to the Court. Yes, lawyers can be expensive. And yes, you might not always like what they have to say. But lawyers know the intricacies of how the Court system works and how to draft and complete agreements which will accurately reflect the compromises made and withstand the test of time. Paying for an attorney at the beginning will likely save more in dollars and headaches down the road.
- Not considering alternatives to a full divorce hearing, including mediation or arbitration. Often, parties find that they can work collaboratively to reach an agreement on many issues if they hire a neutral third party to help keep them on task and focused on resolution. This is often far less acrimonious and expensive than traditional litigation.
Want to avoid these mistakes? Be sure to consult with an experienced Family Law attorney. Cooper Cargill Chant, the North Country’s largest law firm with offices in North Conway and Berlin, NH, can provide solid legal advice from award-winning attorneys. Two lawyers at the firm who accept Family Law cases are Charles Greenhalgh, Partner, and Leslie Leonard, Associate.
Charles has assisted clients in hidden or misrepresented assets and income and evaluating various options for child support and alimony in high asset cases. He has received awards for pro bono service, distinguished public service and representing victims of domestic violence.
Charles regularly represents client in complex divorce matters which required comprehensive knowledge of division of closely held businesses, financing property division and valuation of large assets such as business and extensive real estate holdings.
New Hampshire native Leslie Leonard began her career as a paralegal in Boulder, Colorado after graduating cum laude from the University of New Hampshire. During her years as a paralegal, she gained significant experience in the areas of personal injury and family law matters. Upon graduation from UNH School of Law, Leslie commenced a two-year Superior Court Clerkship, in the Southern Hillsborough Superior Court in Nashua.
Leslie’s practice focuses on family law, employment law, personal injury, social security disability and worker’s compensation. Leslie is also often appointed by the Court to take on Abuse & Neglect cases and frequently represents both victims and accused abusers in domestic violence proceedings. She was named a 2015 Super Lawyers New England Rising Star and a Top 40 Under 40 National Trial Lawyer.
Charles L. Greenhalgh focuses his Domestic Relations practice on advising families and individuals in transition, including divorce, custody, child support, guardianship and adoption matters.
Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. With its main office in North Conway, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant lawyers have over 150 years of experience. Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys are recognized leaders of the New Hampshire Bar Association, have chaired the Boards of the New Hampshire Bar Association, the New Hampshire Association for Justice, and the New Hampshire Bar Foundation. Their lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work.
Cooper Cargill Chant is the largest law firm north of the lakes region in New Hampshire. With its main office in North Conway, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant lawyers have over 150 years of experience. Cooper Cargill Chant attorneys are recognized leaders of the New Hampshire Bar Association, have chaired the Boards of the New Hampshire Bar Association, the New Hampshire Association for Justice, and the New Hampshire Bar Foundation. Lawyers have won numerous awards for their representation of clients throughout New Hampshire, including awards for legal service to the poor, for work in domestic violence cases, in helping form and develop businesses, and in personal injury work. With offices located in North Conway and Berlin, New Hampshire, Cooper Cargill Chant is counsel to hundreds of small businesses and associations, and thousands of individual clients throughout northern NH and western Maine.