07 Jul 5 Things You Should Refrain From Doing During Your Divorce
Going through a divorce can be emotionally taxing for everyone involved: you, your spouse, your children and your close friends and family.
No matter how amicable the divorce may be, there will be moments that try your patience, and tempt you to do things that you may ultimately regret.
But, whether you are engaged in simple mediation or a highly contested divorce, knowing the thing you should avoid doing can prevent you from weakening your case and undermining your goals.
1) Engaging in Domestic Violence or Stalking
There may be times when divorce negotiations get tense and heated, or when your ability to keep your composure is being put to the test.
At these times, especially, you need to stay clear of your spouse and refrain from engaging in any behavior that can be seen as, threatening, abusive or violent.
This kind of behavior is certain to be brought up in court and can profoundly affect your case, and may have long-term consequences on your public and professional life.
You could be served with an injunction, or have criminal charges filed against you – which can a negative effect on your job prospects, professional licenses, your business reputation and/or your standing in the community.
2) Leaving Hurtful Emails or Voice Messages
Hurtful and angry messages that you leave in your spouse’s voicemail, or email inboxes have a tendency to pop back up during the divorce proceedings. In fact, anything you say can be misconstrued and used against you, so be judicious with your words.
Place yourself in the perspective of the judge who will be reading or listening to these messages later. Imagine how he or she may react to what you had to say.
The very same goes true for social media entries and remarks. Be mindful of what you put out for others to read, especially as it pertains to your wife or husband and/or your divorce proceedings. If you don’t have anything constructive to say, then you really shouldn’t say anything at all.
3) Engaging in Parental Alienation
Parental alienation relates to any deliberate attempt by one parent to emotionally distance their children from the other parent. To put it differently, it is a deliberate attempt to destroy the relationship your children share with the other parent. For example, by regularly declaring how awful a person, mother or father the other parent is, or by generally denigrating the other parent while in front of the children.
Parents often do this out of spite, or as payback for an unwanted divorce. And it puts the children in an extremely awkward position, which can have a detrimental effect on their psychological and emotional well being during and after the divorce.
Again, this sort of behavior is more likely than not to be brought up during your divorce, and can undermine your position in the settlement. Especially, if your case involves a child psychologist or Guardian Ad Litem, who might then advise the court that you are exhibiting behavior detrimental to your children’s well being.
Remember, your goal is to have as amicable a divorce as possible, with the least amount of collateral damage. Especially as it concerns your children.
4) Using Litigation As A Tool for Revenge
The purpose of litigating a divorce is threefold:
- To defend your rights as a parent and spouse,
- To establish a plan for parenting your children after the divorce, and
- To decide exactly how your marital property will be split.
Litigation should never be used to exact revenge on your ex, or to address bad things that occurred during your marriage, such as spousal abuse or infidelity. Litigation is expensive and you can spend a lot of money chasing emotional satisfaction that will never be yours.
If you want to resolve any feelings of anger or resentment between you and your ex, or address any of the fundamental issues that led you to divorce, you would be far better off seeking the counsel of a competent divorce counselor.
Save litigation for resolving issues such as child support, child custody and spousal support. And even then, you should do so only when you are unable to settle these issues out of court.
5) Ignoring Claims of Alcohol or Drug Abuse
If your spouse accuses you of abusing drugs or alcohol, you should take it very seriously. Accusations of drug and alcohol abuse can have a huge impact on your divorce settlement, particularly on how child custody and visitation are awarded.
If you are not abusing drugs or alcohol and have been accused of doing so, you should immediately begin drug testing. This way, when these accusations come up in court, you will be prepared to defend yourself by presenting evidence to the contrary.
Not only will doing this show you in a good light, it can make your wife or husband appear as if he or she has been lying to the court. And as a consequence, it will destroy the credibility of their other accusations and weaken their case.
To summarize, when going through a divorce you should never:
- Engage in Domestic Violence or Stalking
- Leave Hurtful Emails or Voice Messages
- Engage in Parental Alienation
- Use Litigation As A Tool for Revenge
- Ignore Claims of Alcohol or Drug Abuse
These five things should be at the top of any good lawyer’s list of recommendations. Contact our family court lawyers for more information on how you can avoid undermining your own divorce case.