Do's and Don'ts of Divorce

Here are a few things to do if you are considering or are embroiled in a divorce:

  • Be honest and up front. Tell your attorney everything and fully make known all your assets and property.  Remember that you are protected by the attorney-client privilege and that anything you tell your attorney is confidential.
  • Be practical and flexible. Finding the middle ground often results in a quicker and easier conclusion in divorce cases.
  • Document everything that you might think will be important later on. Also keep a journal of important dates and events.  This helps your attorney develop a timeline for your case and can be a priceless asset at trial. 
  • Use good business sense when deciding what to fight for and at what cost should you fight for it.  Your attorney can quickly evaluate which issues are worth fighting for and which are not. 
  • Get professional help if you need it to cope with your divorce.  There is no shame in seeing a counselor.  Divorce is a radical change in lifestyle and comes with enormous amounts of emotional hardship.  It's their job to help you deal with this change in a constructive way. 
  • Make your children feel that your new home is also their new home. That should include making them responsible for any chores they were responsible for at your prior home and maintaining a set routine or schedule.
  • Remember that your children have a social life. They have soccer, birthday parties and friends. It is important that their social life be as normal as possible. They are not the ones who are divorcing, you are. So let them maintain a normal social calendar.
  • Show respect towards your spouse in front of the children.  Remember that your children are literally half of your spouse and half of you.  They are aware of that and any criticisms you make of your spouse will also reflect on them.  
  • Make sure that the children know they are not the reason for the divorce.

 

Here some things I often see people doing or trying to do in a divorce.  Refrain from the following:

  • Don't represent yourself. Even experienced attorneys that are getting divorced use an attorney.  The old adage "An attorney who represents himself has a fool for his client," holds true. 
  • Don't get greedy. It doesn't matter if it was you or your spouse that initially wanted the divorce. Just because you're hurt and your emotions are running high, does not mean that you are entitled to more than the law allows. This attitude will cost you unnecessary attorney fees.
  • Don't let your friends tell you what to do. Though they may have good intentions listen to your attorney. They know the law.
  • Don't pay your support late.
  • Don't pick up your children for visitation if have been drinking or have taken drugs.
  • Don't spend thousands of dollars in attorney fees fighting over a $150 piece of furniture.  Your attorney will be able to tell you what is worth fighting over. 
  • Don't discuss the details of the divorce with your children. They are not equipped to handle the emotional strain being placed on them even if they are willing to listen and want to help.
  • Don't make promises to the children that you cannot keep.  This usually involves custody and living arrangements. 
  • Don't make your children feel like a "guest" in your new home.
  • Don't put your children in the middle of your divorce. The divorce is between you and your spouse.
  • Don't put your spouse down in front of the children.
  • Don't question the children regarding the activities of your (ex) spouse.  Interrogating them puts them in the middle of the dispute and soon your children will not be talking to either parent. 
  • Don't refer to your visitation with your children as "Your time" and base things around your schedule.
  • Don't rehash the things that have happened in the past, you can't change what has already ready happened
  • Don't use the children as messengers. This puts them right in the middle. Not only are you risking their love and affection you are also relying upon the child to get the message to your spouse correctly and in the manner you meant it.
  • Don't use your children as a bargaining chip during the settlement process.
  • Don't stop the children from seeing the other parent because he or she owes you money.  Visitation is not contingent upon paying of support or maintenance; however, interfering with visitation unlawfully is a crime under Idaho Code 18-4506.  

 

Posted on January 29, 2014 and filed under Family law.