The top five divorce 'don'ts'

No one gets married expecting it to end, but should things reach the point of no return, a 'road map' of how to get through it could come in very handy.

And given 48,000 marriages ended in 2015 – affecting 42,000 kids – there are plenty of good reasons to keep things civil.

Follow these tips to ensure a smooth-as-possible divorce. Photo: Getty Images.

1. Showing up to court with no legal representation.

"Having direction from professional legal counsel is essential, even if you are self-representing. It’s important to know what information is relevant and useful to bring to court as judges’ patience can wear thin quite quickly," says Rachael Scharrer of

The reality is though, not everyone can afford legal representation. In this case, Rachel advises that “If you cannot afford a ‘full time’ lawyer on your case, then consider asking one to check over and provide advice on documentation (letters, proposals, agreements, etc.) before forwarding it to the other party.”

2. (Mis)Using the kids.

According to the Australian Bureau Of Statistics, while 48,000 ended their marriages - a staggering 42,000 children were affected by the shift in their family unit. “If divorce is a game of chess, the children are not the pawns. Don’t pass messages through the children or use them as a therapist,” says Rachael.

While the pressure may be intense on a parents’ end, it’s important to “Ensure that children are allowed to be kids and protect them from any adversity between the parents and the new situation,” advises Rachael.

Try not to drag your children into your arguments with your spouse. Photo: Getty Images.

3. Refusing to negotiate.

Now is not a time to be stubborn. Rachael believes partners should be mindful of their decisions during the process, “Don’t let pessimistic feelings or issues get in the way or affect the choices you make during negotiations,” says Rachael.

"Being unwilling to negotiate can result in a negative financial outcome," says Rachael. Photo:Getty Images.

4. Putting yourself into intentional debt.

Be smart with your money! Rachael recommends divorcees “Avoid buying unnecessary and expensive possessions or renting an extravagant property ‘just because you can.’”

Of course, it’s because it eventually hits you in your back, side, and front pocket. “Exemptions are occasionally permitted in financial settlement and it could work against you,” says Rachael. “Depending on the lawyers and judge involved, legal fees paid may be counted back into the asset pool.”

Therefore, it’s pivotal you, “Be mindful not to rack up a huge debt with your lawyer either. If you declare bankruptcy, your legal fees and child support are not excused. All legal fees will need to be paid eventually.”

5. Throw in the towel.

While it is draining for your emotions, it is not a good idea to simply give up. While it may be generous to sign away your properties and assets, Rachael advises “This is not a fair and equitable outcome for you.”

Given that divorcees range in age, socio-economic backgrounds and level of support, it’s essential to consider your future wellbeing. “Everyone requires some sort of financial security including the ability to rent, obtain and service a loan and have funds saved for a rainy day, in the event of redundancy, illness or family concerns,” Rachel reminds couples.

Perhaps if all this is taken into consideration, you can reward yourself with a slice of Divorce Cake.

By the end of your process, hopefully you can see the humour in a sugar-laden treat. Photo: Getty Images.

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