Common Mistakes To Avoid When Getting A Divorce in AZ – Part 1

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. In this two part article, I discuss the five most common mistakes I have seen people make during the divorce process (and other family law matters).

1. Making Decisions Based on Emotion, Rather Than Reason. Divorces are one of the most stressful and painful events one can experience in life. Often, one or both of the parties are extremely hurt, lost and confused. Sometimes those feelings lead one or both parties to want nothing more than to hurt their former partner. Sometimes those feelings make a person want to hold on to the conflict and prevent the divorce from finalizing because they are afraid of the unknown – life after marriage. Revenge and fear come at a big price in a divorce process. It can cause a party to engage in expensive litigation. It can cause a party to engage in unreasonable conduct that may lead the Court to sanction him or her. It can result in unfavorable outcomes in the divorce. The best course of action is to compartmentalize the hurt and the practical issues of divorce. One can see a counselor to deal with the pain and make smart business decisions regarding the divorce. One can avoid contentious litigation in favor of a mediation or collaborative divorce, which allows parties to reach agreements quickly, inexpensively and in their best interests.

2. Involving The Children In The Dispute. There are many ways to damage children during a divorce:

a. Some parents are so angry at the other parent that they try to turn the children against him or her. For example, they let the children hear them say bad things about the other parent, or they let the children read the court documents.

b. Other parents try to coerce the children to side with him or her. For example, they cry and say how lonely they are when the children are gone. Or, they bribe the children with offers of gifts and other benefits, if they tell the custody evaluator x, y or z.

c. Yet other parents withhold access of the children to the other parent, or make false allegations against the other parent to prevent access and to “win” custody.

Studies show that children of high conflict parents have emotional problems as an adult. Parents who put their children first will not put them in the middle. While there are occasions that one parent is a danger, in most circumstances, it is best to let the children have a good relationship with both parents. It is also usually most beneficial to work to form a relationship with the other parent that will allow peaceful co-parenting of the children into adulthood. Mediation fosters that kind of relationship; litigation usually does not.

Please click here to read the second part of this article.

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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