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Mistakes to avoid in a surprise divorce

Couples in Massachusetts never expect their marriages to end in divorce, and do not generally plan for a life after their marriage. But when a spouse wants a divorce "out-of-the-blue," the experience can be jarring. A divorce can be a particularly emotional time, and when emotions take over, people tend to make rash decisions that can adversely affect their divorce. This is particularly true if the end of a marriage is sudden or contentious.

There are several common mistakes that people make when they first learn that their spouse is seeking a divorce. Avoiding these mistakes can be beneficial down the road.

The initial reaction for most people is to panic, but it is much more productive to channel that nervous energy into educating oneself. In particular, a person should research their spouse's attorney, which usually can be done easily through the attorney's website.

Unfortunately, many divorces occur because of the infidelity of one spouse. For the faithful spouse, there might be a temptation to retaliate by dating other people. The faithful spouse could also simply be lonely. However, until a judge dissolves the marriage, people should strive to avoid this. Without a dissolution decree, any such relationship would technically be adultery and could give the other spouse ammunition during the divorce.

Once a person has become familiar with the divorce process, the next step is often to find an attorney of their own. Some attorneys will offer a free initial consultation, but experts say that a free initial consultation is no substitute for true legal representation and should not be relied upon solely. The kind of legal advice and information that one will receive from an attorney they have hired will be on a completely different level than what one will get during a free initial consultation.

The end of a marriage can be a scary situation to contemplate once one has become accustomed to the idea of having a partner for life. While the divorce process can be challenging, getting out of a relationship in which both parties are not happy can be ultimately liberating.

Source: Huffington Post, "6 Biggest Mistakes Moms Make in a Divorce," Adriana Velez, March 16, 2013

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