by Tina Seymour Demoran

As a divorce attorney, I shouldn’t find much of anything shocking these days.

However, I still have a hard time wrapping my head around the most common mistakes people make…especially those who have already gone through at least one bad break-up or divorce…when they fall in love with someone.

On many occasions, I’ve told my office manager, Linda, that I should hold a Defensive Dating seminar.

We realized it could prevent some of those most common mistakes from occurring…even if only a few people actually followed my advice.

We started holding the seminars, and I was amazed at the turnout.

After a few of these seminars, I’ve come up with my list of relationship do’s and don’ts:

1. Prenuptial agreements should be signed to protect both parties and any present or future assets.

2. Don’t co-sign for anything if he or she can’t afford it on their own. If your romantic partner’s credit score is a dumpster fire, they are already displaying a pattern of behavior that could easily come back and affect you, as well. Let me rephrase this….if they don’t pay others when bills are due….what makes you think they will pay a bill that YOU are also responsible to pay???

3. In the same mindset, it’s a good idea to keep your bank accounts, savings accounts, car, and home in your name only until AFTER you marry a person. You’d be amazed how many people put their new boyfriend/girlfriend on their property deeds after just a few months of dating. You’ve just handed them a key to at least half of that asset…and given them the opportunity to drain your bank/savings account whenever they desire. If you are a parent entering a new relationship, you may have just handed that new “love” your kids’ inheritance on a platter.

4. Just because he or she has a child with you does not make them a great marital prospect. Snakes have babies, too.

5. Bad boys (and girls) are exciting as all get-out on television and movie screens. In real life, they are usually more likely to be a person who can’t hold down a steady job or who have violent tendencies which can translate into future domestic violence protective orders you will have to file against them…or conspiracy to commit criminal charges being filed against you by a prosecutor. Not always. But often enough to make you consider avoiding the bad boys and girls like the plague.

6. If he or she is dating you before he or she moves out of the home where he or she is living with his or her current wife or husband….don’t put your money on a plethora of domestic bliss and commitment from them. Otherwise known as: if he or she will cheat on their current spouse with you….they could easily subject you to the same treatment in the future.

7. It’s a really good idea to hire a lawyer to create that prenup and to at least review your divorce papers before you sign them.

8. Please refrain from posting on social media that video of you proposing to your prospective new spouse in the cereal aisle of your neighborhood Walmart until AFTER your divorce with your current spouse is finalized in a court of law. (This actually happened–I kid you not) I know I sound cynical about love, but truth be known, I’m a happily married woman.

I guess I’ve just seen and heard the above mistakes being made way too often to stay silent on the topic.

So, the next time you’re contemplating entering a relationship, or if you’re in the midst of one already, remember this: taking a moment to let your brain catch up when your heart wants to take over is just plain, old-fashioned, common sense.