If you are going through a divorce, there are seven things to avoid during your divorce. We see people make these mistakes every day, and we are going to identify them so you can stay out of the woods during your divorce or child custody dispute.
1. Don’t Slander Your Spouse On Social Media
If you do nothing else, avoid the temptation to overshare on social medial during divorce. One of my favorite things to do in court is to give someone the opportunity to re-read their own words. Imagine this objectionable question on cross-examination: “So you sold all of his possessions, criticized his parenting, and you’re a racist?” Or, imagine being Freelee the Banana Girl and having an attorney ask you during your custody trial: “Do you really believe people who eat animals should be murdered?” If you’re Matt, who went to Atlantic City when he was purportedly watching the children, you don’t want to have to explain to a divorce court judge why you left your children unsupervised to have a crazy weekend in Atlantic City.
2. Don’t Insist on Your Day In Court
Some people insist on taking their case to court “on principle.” Principle gets expensive, to the tune of paying lawyers 10% of your assets. If you think the judge will extend a fair, unbiased ear, you may not leave the courtroom feeling that happened. Have you ever been in a work meeting where you check out because you receive an important email or piece of news that needs your attention right now? Judges have 20,000 cases and they won’t turn off all outside sources of information because your case is all that compelling. You’ll get 30 minutes to testify, where you will make a mistake in your testimony. No one can talk nonstop without an error but Steve Jobs or Oprah, and you are not Steve Jobs or Oprah. If you were, you would relaxing on your yacht, writing your spouse a check for whatever they want, not be reading this blog post so you can prepare to go to court “on principle.” You cannot control what happens in court. A trial in court takes on a life of its own. You cannot predict where it may go. Avoid a trial during your divorce. There is nothing I enjoy more than being in court and cross-examining someone about their misguided social media posts or nasty text messages. If you find yourself reading your own words to a judge and your ex, that’s a tip that things may not go well. Look, I like going to court, because I get to leave and go home to my life. I enjoy the experience of court, but I know too much about how the system operates. It’s political, it’s imperfect, and it’s precarious on its best day. If I had to choose between taking my own life to be decided by a judge and living in a cardboard box, I can live with the color brown.
3. Dating During a Divorce or Child Custody Legal Case Will (Almost) Never End Well
Your new love may last, but in the event it doesn’t, look at this lovely new person you have found and imagine them testifying against you in court after you have dumped them because you realized after all you aren’t ready for a serious relationship. No one ever believes this, because it’s code for “I’m not that into you.” You weren’t that into them, and they know you are divorcing with children? What have you told them so far? You may have spent marital assets toward your new relationship. Your new love may have a less than fabulous background with children. Don’t date unless your case is over. You’re welcome.
4. Do Not Accept “Gambling” Losses as Losses
A lot of people lose money “gambling” before a divorce. Your spouse could have chips hidden somewhere to remove them from the asset division they feared. If you see gambling losses, tell your lawyer. We can obtain the records for the casino chip purchases and recover those assets.
5. Jewelry, Art and Collectibles Develop Legs and Walk Away – Don’t Leave Them Vulnerable
Expect that your jewelry, collectibles and artwork may disappear. Your spouse will innocently claim they have no idea what could have happened to the items. Another trick is for your spouse to make an insurance claim on your lost items. This could mean a double strike against you – you lose your valuable items and your spouse makes the insurance claim. If you are going to announce divorce, start safekeeping your important items. I tell my clients they can safekeep the items, but don’t trust a seething spouse.
6. Don’t Grieve Now
The grief cloud can really cloud your judgment. Making emotional decisions about an unemotional issue can be costly and foolish. I am always on the lookout for a someone who says “Just give them whatever they want,” as much as I’m watchful of the person who wants to scorch the earth by going to court at all costs. Grief is a terrible compass. See a therapist who is less expensive than my hourly rate. As much as I care about you, I have to bill you for the time we talk. As much as I may enjoy taking you to court if you’re opposing me, it’s not a fair fight. You’re fighting for your life, and I’m fighting for 5pm so I can enjoy the sunset. Seriously, if you can make one good decision, it’s to enter the collaborative process at any stage of your divorce. I really want the right thing for your kids even if I’m opposing you, because your kids didn’t choose your mistakes. Collaborative law is the one process where your kids have a voice in legal proceedings that affect them. And if you think you’ll automatically get 50/50 parenting time, therefore your kids aren’t affected, this is a fallacy. Every interaction you have with the other parent of your children affects your children.
7. Don’t Vent Your Anger At Your Spouse
You and one other person made your children, made your life, adopted your pets and built your life together. It may feel really good to give that jerk a piece of your mind, but as the lawyer for that jerk, I save your communications. I give you a chance to read them out loud to the judge in your divorce trial. Some people think that because the kids are grown and out of the house, their children won’t suffer. I’m an adult, and I cringe when I hear my parents have the occasional cross word. No matter what my parents went through in their lives, I always had the experience of having two parents who weathered crises together and never let me say a bad word about the other. For that, I must thank them, and it’s the reason I went into collaborative law and helped my amazing counterparts develop www.bestlegalchoices.com. On that site there are 8 lawyers who have each had cases together, and we’ll advocate for you without scorching the earth.
Call us today to talk about how to get through your divorce without financial casualties or ruining your children’s lives. 480-999-0800.