Pitfall #1: File the divorce too early
Although you may want to get the divorce over with as soon as possible, don't file for a divorce too early in the heat of the moment. Once a contested divorce starts, the situation becomes very messy and more stressful. Take a few days to think about the divorce, which ties into the second and third pitfall.
Pitfall #2: Skipping straight to contested divorce
We stress Mediation before contested divorce because we find that oftentimes, with a good mediator and a safe environment to discuss, parties can agree to a settlement. Contested divorce is costly, time-consuming, and highly emotional. If you think that you have a chance at skipping the court process, you should give Mediation a try.
Pitfall #3: Not planning out the divorce = losing your child and possessions
If you do not plan your divorce out properly, you could lose your child, pension, and hard-earned money to your spouse or opposing counsel. Before starting the divorce, you should have a timeline, dates, list of forms, and a very clear idea of how the next few months should go. Opposing counsels often try to claim that you are not willing to comply with the divorce when you are slightly late on responding, so that you will later have to pay the court fees due to "bad faith".
Pitfall #4: No documents
When you are preparing for a divorce, make sure to find all the documents possible of your and your spouse's assets. If you cannot document it, you cannot claim it as part of your share. Whether it was yours or not, you may lose it to your spouse. This is especially important in contested divorce, but a good practice for all types of divorce.