Important Business Alert: Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) Effective January 1, 2024 CLICK TO LEARN MORE
Couple Arguing

Top 10 Mistakes to Avoid in Your Nebraska Divorce from the Omaha Divorce Attorneys at Goosmann Law

Whether you are making the decision to file for divorce, or your spouse has recently informed you that they are filing for divorce, the steps you take from this point forward can dramatically affect the outcomes and your experience.

Mistake 1: Not Hiring an Experienced Divorce Lawyer to Represent You.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in your divorce is failing to hire an experienced divorce attorney to represent you and protect your interests when dividing up the marital estate or determining a child custody arrangement. Do not let your spouse convince you that you do not need an attorney when deciding these crucial details.

The old saying “penny wise, dollar foolish” applies in these circumstances. Avoiding the cost of an attorney could result in you losing significantly more money in the final divorce settlement. You cannot rely on your spouse or your spouse’s attorney to treat you fairly in a property settlement if you do not have an attorney. Even the most financially sophisticated person does not know what they do not know in a divorce case. Hiring the right attorney with experience in investigating assets, valuing assets, and dividing assets in a divorce is critical to ensure you receive what you are entitled to receive under Nebraska divorce law.

When a Judge looks at your Nebraska divorce decree, the Court will generally find that a property settlement is fair and equitable if the division of marital property and debt results in a two-thirds to one-third division. Sometimes it is not exactly clear in the Decree if the property division is fair. If the parties stipulate (agree) on a division of assets and child custody arrangement, the Court’s will often find the agreement fair and reasonable. In most divorces, the division of property should be fairly equal, but without an experienced divorce attorney protecting your interests, certain assets and debts could be missed that could impact your divorce settlement.

Without an attorney to represent you, you may find it extremely difficult to determine if what you are getting is fair and equitable. A proposed property settlement could appear to be fair, when in reality it is far from being fair. Should you later discover that your spouse has taken advantage of you, you may have few options, if any, to undo the bad deal that you agreed to. Even if you are successful in undoing a bad deal, you will likely end up spending significantly more in attorney fees compared to how much you would have spent hiring an experienced divorce attorney to protect you from the beginning.

Mistake 2: Agreeing To a Bad Deal or One-Sided Deal In The Financial Settlement Of Your Divorce

Even if you hire an attorney, agreeing to a bad deal is a mistake you may regret in the future. It is generally best to ensure you hire the necessary experts to protect your businesses and go through the financial disclosure process. It is not recommended to just give in to what your spouse wants simply because he or she is controlling, domineering, or manipulative. Do not let any guilt that you may have for the divorce impact what you are entitled to receive in the end property settlement.

Do not agree to a property settlement where the assets are not properly valued or where you have no realistic means to pay the amount (in a lump sum or over time).

You should never agree to pay your spouse alimony without first seeking the advice of an experienced divorce attorney. People often have many misconceptions about when spousal support or alimony is appropriate, and without consulting first with an experienced divorce attorney you could agree to pay your spouse tens of thousands of dollars when it was not necessary. If you agree to pay your spouse alimony, do not agree to pay your ex-spouse spousal support that you cannot realistically afford while maintaining your own expenses. It is extremely difficult to undo your agreement to pay alimony later in a modification.

During your divorce, your monthly expenses and actual income should be closely examined. An experienced Nebraska divorce attorney should help you carefully review your financial situation after the divorce. You need to be realistic as to what you can continue to afford. Keeping your home might not be the best financial move if it results in you being house poor. Agreeing to pay a large spousal support amount that you cannot afford could damage your ability to pay future obligations. You will want to take the time to understand your current and future personal finances and circumstances. These are critical to whether you will quickly rebound financially after the divorce is complete.

Mistake 3: Agreeing To a Parenting Plan That Is Not in The Best Interests Or Your Children

Similar to Mistake 2, agreeing to a parenting plan or child custody order that diminishes your access to your children or limits your parenting time is a major mistake that is difficult to undo in the future. To change custody or parenting time in the future, a material change of circumstances is generally needed. If you want equal access to your children or liberal parenting time, but agree to limited access now, it may be hard to obtain more time in the future if your former spouse does not agree to allow you more time. Do not agree to a parenting plan that does not specifically grant you certain periods of time with your children, or without a fallback provision for future disagreements. Often people will assume that they will be able to work things out with their ex-spouse, and they allow their ex (or their children) too much discretion when determining parenting time.

Mistake 4: Not Being Comprehensive in Financial Disclosures and Discovery

Going through a divorce can feel like a full-time job. That is because for many people, the divorce process itself is a full-time job! The task of obtaining documentation of your assets and debts can be an extremely time-consuming and difficult process. For your attorney, the financial disclosure process can be one of the most expensive parts of your divorce case. Although tedious, this step is critical to ensuring a fair outcome in your divorce.

For those clients who spend the time to be organized and comprehensive in their disclosures, they will have a greater chance of ending up with a better financial result at the end of the case and a lower bill from their attorney. For those clients who ignore their requirements in financial disclosures or resist their attorney during this process, their attorney fees can sometimes double or triple and they may end up with a less-than-optimal divorce settlement. Do not ignore requests for disclosures, as a court could sanction you or prohibit you from presenting evidence at trial.

Mistake 5: Not Understanding Your Case or Properly Preparing Yourself for Trial

Your lawyer is going to be only as good as his or her client. A client who does not understand the case strategy or understand the goals for their case will typically perform poorly at trial. Likewise, a client who does not meet regularly with their attorney, understand their finances and evidence, and does not prepare for their testimony, will have difficulty providing a strong testimony at trial. Make sure you are engaged in all aspects of your case and meet with your attorney and practice answering the questions you may receive at trial.

This mistake could also be called “Not Asking Your Attorney Enough Questions”. If you ever feel like you and your attorney are not on the same page, or you do not have a full understanding of what is going on in your case, ask your attorney questions necessary for you to get informed. You should have a clear understanding, at all times, what the next steps in your case are.

Mistake 6: Not Carefully Reviewing Your Divorce Paperwork

This is especially true for any documents that might be prepared by your spouse or their attorney. You are the number one expert in your divorce or custody case. Your attorney is human. Ask questions and make sure you understand what you are signing. Carefully review all paperwork that you submit to the Court or exchange with your soon to be former spouse or partner. Carefully review what your spouse files and discloses to you. Not only can you save yourself some money, but you can also help your attorney spot issues that only you would be able to spot.

Mistake 7: Ignoring Your Attorney or Not Communicating with Your Attorney

The old saying “the squeaky wheel gets the grease” applies to divorce work. If you do not communicate with your attorney, your case can get delayed. If your case is important to you, make sure you are engaged with your attorney throughout the entire process.

Mistake 8: Reacting Negatively and/or Acting Out Towards Your Spouse

In situations where children are involved, it is especially important to not act out towards your spouse in anger, revenge, or guilt. Negative behavior often makes the divorce process worse and more difficult to heal from and limit your ability to effectively co-parent your children in the future.

When children are involved, you need to communicate with your co-parent. Cutting that parent out of decisions being made, or using the children as a weapon to get revenge will never be an advantageous strategy and will only make the process harder and costlier.

Taking the high road when faced with similar attacks from your ex-spouse will always be the better option. If the Court sees both sides engaging in this behavior, even if one side is the main aggressor, they will often find that both parties are troublemakers, and not find in favor of either party.

Mistake 9: Using Inappropriate or Unhealthy Coping Mechanisms

There is nothing wrong with seeking help during your divorce to help you manage your emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms. The best approach you can take is to focus on healthy things. Start exercising, reconnect with positive friends and family, rediscover hobbies, and focus on your children. Do not be afraid to seek therapy. Sometimes clients can be reluctant to pursue therapy during their divorce out of fear that the opposition may get access to these records. While this is a concern, letting emotions fester without getting mental health treatment can lead to worse outcomes. The worst thing you can do is to seek out unhealthy outlets to cope with your emotions. Stay away from alcohol or controlled substances. Do not engage in risky behaviors or engage in new romantic relationships. Do not abandon your children and ignore those that care about you the most. While there is a natural desire to ‘escape’ a difficult situation, pursuing these negative coping mechanisms could severely impact your opportunity to reach your desired goals.

Mistake 10: Be Honest with Yourself and Your Attorney And Have Realistic Expectations.

Hiding bad facts about you or your case can be disastrous for the final outcome of your case. If you hide things from your attorney or lie to your attorney, you create an environment where your attorney is the only one involved in the matter who does not know the whole truth. Hiding “bad facts” from your attorney can often result in your attorney being blind-sided at trial or a contested hearing. It is always the better option to be up front and honest with your attorney, which will allow your attorney to prepare an effective response if the “bad fact” comes out at trial.

You should also be honest with yourself about your case goals and expected outcomes. Unrealistic expectations or seeking something that you cannot realistically obtain will only result in unnecessary expenses in your divorce or custody case. Share your goals and expected outcomes with your attorney in the initial stages of your divorce to make sure that your attorney is aware of them. This will also give your attorney the opportunity to provide advice on how realistic your goals and outcomes are. If your goals and or outcomes change let your attorney know, so you do not end up incurring legal bills from your attorney pursuing something you no longer desire.

Goosmann Law – Omaha Divorce Lawyer and Omaha Child Custody Attorney

The lawyers at Goosmann Law have been involved in hundreds of divorce and custody cases. If you have a Nebraska or Iowa divorce or child custody case, the Sioux City and Omaha / Council Bluffs divorce lawyers at Goosmann Law are available to discuss the specific facts about your situation and can provide an initial case assessment during an initial consultation. You can schedule a consultation by contacting your local Goosmann Office at (855) 909-4442 or by filling out the contact form on our website

About the Authors:

About Goosmann Law Family Law Practice Group

*Note: This blog post is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or relied upon in lieu of obtaining legal advice regarding the exact particulars of your individual situation in this very complex and difficult area of Nebraska law.