Common Mistakes To Avoid When Getting A Divorce in Arizona – Part 2

I have practiced in the area of family law in Arizona for over 15 years. I have litigated divorce cases, mediated divorce cases and worked with a team in a collaborative divorce. This is Part 2 of this article, in which I discuss the five most common mistakes I have seen people make during the divorce process (and other family law matters). Click here to see Part 1.

3. Failing To Realize That, In Litigation, Your Spouse Will Make Sure Anything You Say Or Do Will Be Held Against You. Everyone knows that litigated divorces can get nasty (think “War of the Roses”). However, few people are prepared for the pure ugliness of litigation. People:

a. Tape conversations to use against the other party;

b. Get Orders of Protection against the other party simply to remove that person from the house or to make them look bad;

c. Rally their spouse’s friends, family and employer against them;

d. Write horrible and sometimes un-provable things about the other parent in documents filed with the Court (making them public records).

The result of such litigation can be a severely damaged reputation and tens of thousands of dollars spent on attorney’s fees and expert fees trying to dispute the allegations. Once that course of conduct is started, it is hard to stop. It is best to start the process in a neutral, calm and peaceful environment, like mediation, before things get out of control.

4. Refusing To Get Advice From Other Professionals. Divorces have tax ramifications. Neither an attorney nor a mediator can give tax advice. Only an accountant or tax specialist may do so. Other professional may also provide important advice during a divorce. For example, a child specialist can help parties figure out what is best for the children; a financial planner can help determine one’s needs after a divorce; a real estate expert can advise parties what to do with, say, a house with negative equity; and a lawyer can help a party phrase terms of an agreement to protect rights. While one does not have to hire any expert, a mediator can help parties find the professional advice they want.

5. Believing That Contested, Litigated Divorces Are The Only Option. Many people do not know that mediation or a collaborative divorce are options – they think they have to “lawyer up” and fight if there is conflict. The result is that many people have a much more difficult and expensive divorce than necessary and are left with unfavorable orders that could have been avoided. Litigated outcomes are inherently uncertain. Before deciding on a course of action, it is best to sit down with a professional who knows about litigation, mediation and collaborative divorce, so that one can make an educated decision about which course of action is best.

Alona M. Gottfried is a family law mediator, collaborative divorce attorney and litigation attorney in Arizona. If you have questions about divorce/family law options, she can be reached at: 480-998-1500 or This is a general interest article only and is not intended to be legal advice. See a legal professional before making legal decisions.

Simmons & Gottfried, PLLC

8160 E. Butherus Dr., Suite #7

Scottsdale, AZ 85260

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