2. Using lawyers to settle inconsequential issues. It’s important that couples avoid heedless concessions just to get divorced. But do you really want lawyers, at their hourly rate, to go back and forth about who will take the children to and from soccer practice or how the kitchen utensils will be divided? They didn’t go to law school to settle such trivial issues; and it’s not what you had in mind when you originally hired them.
3. Being stubborn and inflexible. When emotions run hot, it’s easy to dig in one’s heels to make a point: “I won’t be pushed around.” But make sure your heels aren’t digging too deep a hole. Spending thousands of dollars in legal fees to make your spouse responsible for the cost of summer camp is not the best use of community assets.
4. Seeking vengeance, rather than a legal settlement. Divorce is first and foremost, a legal process with a legal outcome. When couples decide to use that process for non-legal purposes, such as to get revenge or publically humiliate the other, the divorce will get very messy and very expensive, very fast. Interestingly, research in this area has found that getting revenge feels very good for a very short period of time; then it doesn’t feel good at all.
5. Refusing to communicate in a civil manner with the other spouse. A divorce requires couples and their representatives to communicate: information exchanged, requests conveyed, proposals submitted, tradeoffs suggested, offers accepted. This process becomes terribly difficult and inefficient when straightforward communication is replaced by argument and conflict. The goal of divorce is to reach a legal agreement, not to replay everything that went wrong in the marriage.