Divorce is an emotional time, and when your emotions are running high, it’s all too easy to make mistakes. If you are headed toward divorce or at the start of one, here are three mistakes that many people have made and will continue to make but you can avoid right now.
Not Addressing the Divorce Complaint
Whether you don’t want to get divorced yet or are upset that your spouse filed first, the one thing you cannot do is ignore the divorce petition after it has been served to you. Once you have officially received the court papers, you have only so long to respond to them in New Mexico, typically 30 days. If you don’t respond, your spouse may be able to divide up everything as they deem fit. The divorce will go on eventually whether you take part in it directly or not, so it’s best to find a family law attorney as soon as you receive notice of it.
If you fail to respond and your spouse receives an uncontested divorce on their terms, you will have a harder time trying to go back to court to have aspects of it changed. Your best course of action is to fully participate in the divorce proceedings from the onset, regardless of who filed first. This way, you will be able to protect your rights and work toward your goals as the case moves through the legal system.
Getting the Wrong Attorney
Ideally, you will want to find an attorney who handles a lot of family law cases in New Mexico as they will have familiarity and experience with the laws surrounding your case and the court systems involved. Using an attorney who handles cases in other types of law on a regular basis instead may put you at a disadvantage because they may not be able to give you all your options or even a realistic idea of the outcomes of the different issues involved in your divorce.
In addition to having an attorney who focuses more on family law, you also want a person and law firm you feel you can trust and are comfortable with. Divorces are sensitive cases by their very nature, so it’s vital you feel comfortable talking with your attorney and the rest of the law firm’s staff involved in your case. You also want a law firm with responsive staff. When you are divorcing and having trouble communicating with your attorney and their staff, it can add an unnecessary layer of frustration to your experience.
Letting Friends or Family Members Guide All Your Decisions
As well-meaning as your friends and family members may be, keep in mind that they are not legal professionals and that each divorce case is different. There may be circumstances in your best friend’s divorce, for example, that do not apply in your case and will impact the overall outcome. Ultimately, this is your divorce, so you will be the person most affected by how it plays out. Of course, speaking to friends and family for emotional support and for an outlet during your divorce is only natural; the important thing to remember is that their advice and suggestions may not be the right roads for you to take.
Take the time you need to find the right attorney for your case so you feel informed and that your rights are protected throughout the proceedings. When you have experienced legal representation on your side, your divorce can feel a lot less stressful and overwhelming, even if you were blindsided by the action.