Relationship Advice

Seven common divorce mistake to avoid

Sage advice from women and men who have been there before.

By Anju Regis
Anju Regis is the founder of The Separation Exchange, an online resource for Australians going through a separation or divorce, as well as those married men and women who are thinking about ending their relationship.
Guided by her own separation experience, Anju wanted to share the personal advice she's learned along the way, in the hope that her pain may serve other people experiencing something similar.
Here Anju, along with numerous other separated and divorced men and women, share with Now To Love their tips for navigating the seven most common divorce mistakes.
Navigating through the murky waters that are separation and divorce can take you down a very emotional and challenging path.
Hindsight is an amazing thing. In most areas of life, people like making their own mistakes and learn from them.
But for me personally, when it comes to separation and divorce, this was the one situation where I would have loved to talk to someone who really had been there, done that, to get their advice.
So if you're currently going through a separation, we've collected a thoughts from people who have travelled the path before, to tell us about some of the "mistakes" they wish they hadn't made during their own separation experience.
Here are the top seven mistakes people told us they wish they knew about before commencing separation.
Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep in the famous divorce movie Kramer vs Kramer. (Image: Supplied)
MISTAKE 1: "If you are still in love with your ex, do not let the love blind you!" - Jade
If someone has moved on before you have after separation, or you have found yourself in a separation that you actually didn't want, don't let your ex take that for granted.
Protect your heart and your finances. Figuring out when to start talking about your terms of disengagement is probably better for everyone if you are in a good state of mind (or at least a rational frame of mind).
Discussing finances or the terms of separation may be risky, if discussed when you are emotional and vulnerable.
So, consider taking some time to "process" where you are and then dive into the details, so that no one takes advantage of the situation.
MISTAKE 2: "Having separate accounts for our finances after separation, probably would have helped some of the major blows" – Nick
Blows about money caused A LOT of fights post separation.
A simple division of our income at the start of our separation, placing money separate and joint accounts would probably have helped us.
Hindsight is amazing, however when we continued to do what we always did, it became very hard to reprogram from pooling our money to dividing it into accounts.
Our attitude to money was very different.
Spending money on things were always challenged which caused a lot of financial FRICTION.
Multiply this friction post-separation to finalising financial separation three years later, meant that separation was horrid!
Scarlett Johansson (left) and Adam Driver (right) play a couple going through a divorce in the new movie Marriage Story. (Image: Supplied)
MISTAKE 3: "Your life history together does not mean that your ex will treat you respectfully." - Marion
Spending a substantial part of your life with someone does not always result in being treated respectfully.
People change, property division changes people, thoughts on what people feel "entitled to" changes people.
Many people seem devastated about the changes that occur during separation, as their spouse becomes almost unrecognisable to the person you once knew.
MISTAKE 4: "Sort out your post separation finances sooner rather than later" – Kelly
After separating from my ex, we left formalising the "separation" for "later".
We were reasonable amicable, so did not feel the need to fast track or resolve anything financially.
Fast forward two years, and the introduction of new partners changed the direction completely.
My ex's new partner got involved in what she thought he should be getting and then the game changed.
It got complicated and the negotiation to financial settlement was excruciating.
MISTAKE 5: "Do not let kids be used as a pawn in the separation negotiating stage" – Pete
Many people say "we would never use the kids to play each other off", or "we would never manipulate the kids".
However, this did happen to us, despite a conscious effort most of the time NOT to do this exact thing!
Perhaps we should have put more effort in during mediation, but we both definitely involved the kids in "adult" conversations.
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MISTAKE 6: "Asking mutual friends about what my ex was up to meant a delay to moving forward. – Sabrina
After spending years together and sharing many life moments with my ex, unravelling from him was tough!
Despite the fact that we both mutually agreed to separate, that did not help the situation of letting go.
Constantly asking mutual friends about my ex for more than one year meant that the journey of actually moving forward was delayed.
MISTAKE 7: "Not engaging a family lawyer to advise me on my situation early" - Jake
We let our separation process stagnate for approximately two years.
We both moved forward with our lives, but even though my ex engaged a lawyer early in the stages to get advice, I left mine until we had completed the mediation process, because we shared kids.
If I had engaged my own lawyer, who understood the parameters of our separation, I may have gone down a different direction.
For more information on navigating your separation or divorce successfully, visit theseparationechange.com