At the risk of sounding smug, I’d like to warn of these common divorce mistakes (a few that I’ve made myself). These are only a sampling of many mistakes we make but I’ve narrowed it down to the top five. So, this is a quick and dirty list of what not to do during your divorce.


1) Custody battle in court – because it’s always—probably 99%— better to fight among yourselves when it comes to your children’s custody schedule.

You don’t want a judge to set this for you because you may end up with something unsatisfactory or even devastating. Further, it will be legally binding and very difficult to amend once you’ve been to court.

Not to mention the costs will bankrupt you at worst, and take away your children’s college funds at the very least. So you’ll want to think long and hard before initiating a custody battle in the courts.


2) Answering every scathing email from your ex – fact is you can choose to skip some battles.

Disengage. Channel that frustration somewhere else.


3) Thinking your lawyer will save you – we all need a hero and sometimes we view our lawyers as wearing capes.

This isn’t entirely fair and will only set you up for disappointment.

Also, you’ll have to be proactive in your case. Meaning you have to put an effort in to ensure all information is disclosed, and stay organized with evidence and related documents.


4) Cutting your ex’s family out of your children’s lives – this is not ok.

The only time it would be appropriate is if the ex’s family is hurting the children in any way and that includes bad mouthing you. If you get a sniff of that, it is your discretion how to handle this sensitive situation. I believe it’s important to talk with the children about this if you discover it’s happening. The sooner the better, too and if that means setting boundaries with extended family on either side, then that’s an important call that you can make for the time the children are in your care.

However, barring any wrong doings, why would you keep your children from their relatives or worse their other parent? Not cool.


5) Self-absorption and pity – if all you do is talk about your divorce, you’re going to become boring pretty quickly.

Of course, we need to vent and talk about it with a supportive friend or two—that’s ok, but don’t make it your single agenda. There’s so much more to life even when it feels like it’s falling apart.

Divorce is a crazy ride, and you’re on it for a while but there’s also many other great things happening on that journey. Make it your daily ritual to acknowledge your blessings.



It’s hard to keep our heads on straight and thus use common sense during the emotional journey that is divorce. At the very least, we must avoid the common mistakes of lengthy custody battles, using our lawyers as therapists, wallowing in self-pity, overlooking what’s good in our life, not picking our battles and responding to every infuriating email from our ex. That’s it.

Not too hard to do? Hahahaha…. *laughs* because on paper it sounds easy but I realize keeping our head during this time is not as easy as some people make it look. However, if you avoid the above five mistakes, you’re bound to see an improvement.

Is there anything you would add to this list? Share in the comments.

Lisa XO


This article originally appeared at

Lisa Thomson made the most difficult decision in her life in 2005 – that was to end her marriage. She says that was the start of her 5-year long extrication process. One of the outcomes was the publication of her two self-help books, The Great Escape; A Girl’s Guide to Leaving a Marriage and A Divorce Companion. Each book provides practical ‘how to’ tips along with sharing her personal experiences. Lisa is a columnist for The Huffington Post and Divorced Moms. You can view many of her articles and learn more about her at