Photo of Karen Lavin

Trying new things is a part of life. But trying new things also means mistakes. For example, when a baby tries to take its first step, it typically ends in falling down – the same for riding a bike. But from the falling comes growth and progress.

The same is true of divorce. For many Illinoisans, divorce is unexplored territory, something new to learn. As a result, mistakes are certainly a risk. But just as a toddler gets the help of their parents to learn how to ride a bike, Illinoisans going through a divorce can minimize the scrapes along the way by talking with an experienced family law attorney.

What are some of those potential scrapes? First, viewing divorce as a chance to settle the score. But settling the score means additional litigation and additional litigation means bigger fees – for both sides. Worse, the additional litigation probably won’t yield the result a vendetta-seeker wants it to.

Second, assuming the kids are better off exclusively with one parent. Certainly, in some instances that is true, but in many cases children benefit from having a relationship with both of their parents. Trying to rob them of that hurts the kids as much as the ex-spouse. Besides, sharing the kids can give the custodial parent some time to recharge or even go on vacation.

Third, choosing not to get a lawyer because the other spouse is acting reasonable. In reality, no one can go through a divorce completely objectively. Talk to a lawyer – even if just to get an truly objective perspective on the divorce. Doing so at the start can prevent regret later.

Source:, “Top 5 Mistakes in Divorce,” Andrea Garst, Nov. 4, 2013