In the next several posts, we’ll take a look at the 5 worst divorce mistakes you can make, as compiled by family law attorneys and marriage counselors across America. If you’re seeking a divorce, or the process has already begun, we hope these words of advice can help you avoid the pitfalls of the end of matrimony. Last time, we looked at Mistake #1: Involving the Kids. This is the second in our series.


One of the most common kick starters to a divorce is the discovery of an affair. In “no-fault” divorce states, adultery as the stated cause of the divorce is not as important as it used to be, but the introduction of a third party into the demanding dynamics of divorce can make the process much more difficult. That other person often makes the divorcing couple focus on the emotions – feelings of anger, resentment, betrayal –  involved the process, rather than the practical breakup of the marriage, and all that entails, such as child support, division of property, and so on.

Do you know two of the most common ways to avoid divorce case complications brought on by a new relationship? It’s easier than one would imagine.

The first is when one spouse focuses all of their energy and anger over the divorce on the “other woman” or the “other man.”  That spouse convinces themselves the new person is the – cause – of the divorce, instead of seeing them as – a symptom.  It’s a common misdiagnosis bred out of heartbreak. This misplaced focus can take up hours of an attorney’s time – at a significant cost – and take focus away from the really important details like the assets and income that need to be inventoried and divided. This type of focus is unhealthy and drives people into court seeking revenge over resolution.

Any counselor will tell you, being hurt or angry is a natural reaction. The big “but” is, focusing on your spouse’s new significant other as the source of your problems is a destructive exercise. Getting professional help to understand and deal with these strong emotions is highly recommended, because divorce attorneys, although empathetic, are not trained to help you work though emotional issues. Family counselors experienced in divorce cases are your allies here. Focus with your legal team on the legal issues; let counselors counsel you on your feelings.

The second common way that parties can involve significant others inappropriately in a divorce case, can often lead to that misdirection of focus. We summed it up earlier as “bragging about the new beau (or belle).” Waving the new relationship in your estranged spouse’s face. Flaunting your newfound love. Some parties will insist that their new boyfriend or girlfriend accompany them to court hearings, or discuss them unnecessarily (and relentlessly) in front of the ex-spouse. These actions are not only hurtful, but often downright inflamatory. Worst of all, they are almost always completely – unnecessary. When a new relationship is young, there is no need for that third party to be involved in your divorce case. Encouraging them to be involved only increases the likelihood that emotions will stay high and your case will drag out needlessly.

And that’s no way for a new start. Is it?