It happens to the best of us. Sometimes your “I dos” turn into a big “DO NOT.” As family law attorneys, we know the divorce process can be an exceptionally emotional and vulnerable time. Whether you and your ex remain cordial or things take a hostile turn, it’s imperative to have the right team by your side to guide you through the process. We put together this list of dos and don’ts, so you can avoid common pitfalls in divorce and get the most favorable outcome possible.
The Dos and Don’ts of Divorce
DO Hire an experienced attorney.
There are many horror stories about how expensive a divorce can be, and you may feel inclined to represent yourself rather than hire an attorney, to save money. However, DIY divorces can actually cost you more in the long run. Take a look at our blog, Ways Your DIY Divorce Can Haunt You Later, for more details.
DO Treat yourself.
Think about your health and your well-being, and remember to take time to be nice to yourself. Give yourself a day off and plan an activity that gives you joy. This is a difficult time, but it won’t last forever. Remind yourself of all the good times you have coming your way.
DO Research. The more you know, the better questions you can ask, and the fewer surprises you’ll encounter throughout the divorce process.
DO Meet deadlines.
Every legal process requires you to follow certain rules and deadlines as instructed by the court. Because family law courts are busy and need to maintain an efficient and fair system, certain requirements for your dissolution of marriage must be completed within a specific amount of time. If you fail to adhere to the deadlines set by law, you could suffer negative consequences.
DO Document everything.
Consider this your mantra during the divorce process. It will save you stress and money in the long run. And it leads perfectly into our first “DON’T” on the list…
DO NOT Hide facts from your attorney.
No matter how acclaimed your attorney is, they can only be as helpful as you are honest. Be sure to share everything you can with your lawyer, so they can be best prepared to represent you and fight on your behalf.
DO NOT Get pregnant.
Pregnancy and family planning are sensitive issues, regardless of your relationship status. It is incredibly complex when it comes to divorce proceedings.
DO NOT bring your new boyfriend/girlfriend around the children prior to the divorce being final.
This decision varies from family to family, but in general, involving new partners in your children’s lives before a divorce is not advisable. This can be very confusing for your children and may result in hurt feelings or make your case more contested than it needs to be.
DO NOT Post on social media.
Nothing is private anymore on the internet. The first place that attorneys go to find evidence in a divorce case is generally social media. Anything you post on social media can and will be used against you in a court of law. And we do not just mean the obvious things. It may be obvious that you should not post evidence of infidelity, destruction of a spouse’s property, or similar incriminating content. But posts that may not seem harmful can still come back to haunt you.
For example, if you post about a vacation, expensive gifts, or travel, this can be used in court to prove you have funds, which could, in turn, affect alimony, child support, and other terms of your divorce proceedings. If you post images with your children, the other party can observe who the children are spending time with and where you take them, and this information can be used to argue against you. When in doubt, do not post.
DO NOT Send nasty messages to your soon-to-be ex.
As tempting as it may be to leave voicemails, emails, or text messages to your former spouse, we can assure you that these will appear as evidence against you at the worse possible time in court. Even if you receive nasty communication from them, don’t respond. Instead, tell your attorney so that they can properly deal with this situation. If you must write a text, email, or post to your spouse, imagine it being read by a judge in the future.
DO NOT Expose your kids to your animosity.
The conflict between parents can be very damaging for kids. If you have children, avoid putting them in the middle of your relationship issues, and make their well-being your top priority. Your patience and reassurance will not only minimize their anxiety, but it could also help them learn to better navigate difficult circumstances in their own lives. If possible, it’s best to present a unified front with your ex and ensure the kids your love for them has not changed and is not related to your divorce.
DO NOT Dispose of any assets you know your spouse wants.
We understand it can be tempting to “teach your ex a lesson” or withhold things from them during a divorce, especially an ugly one. However, this, too, can come back to bite you. This kind of behavior can look bad to the court and judge and may negatively impact your case. When it comes to divorce, live by the golden rule: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. No matter how hard it seems at the time
No matter the case, attorneys McCart and Tesmer empower clients to reach constructive long-term outcomes. They understand the value of allowing clients to decide how their families will be restructured. And their support doesn’t end when the case does. Our offices provide clients with valuable resources for surviving and thriving post-divorce. Take a look at our Post-Divorce Checklist: 7 Steps for Success After Your Divorce & Name Change After Divorce to learn more.