Any of these may be the kiss of death to an amicable, reasonably priced divorce:
There’s no rush! Even if the divorce was not “your” idea, and even if the divorce was the result of infidelity by your spouse. The reason is quite simply that it can complicate an easy settlement. Sometimes, the spouse who wants out of the relationship is angry to see you moving on and being happy. At a minimum, keep any dating activity under the radar! Don’t join dating services or post your Facebook status as “single.” Don’t post pictures on line showing you having a great time with that new love interest.
Don’t Make Changes To Your Existing Life
Don’t make changes to your existing life, auto, health or other insurance policies, unless you have your spouse’s written agreement. This includes changing deductibles, carriers, insureds or beneficiaries. During divorce proceedings, there are automatic temporary restraining orders (“ATROs”) that require you to leave these things in place. If you make unauthorized changes, you may well be in violation of court orders.
Don’t Document Your Life Online
Now is not the time to post information or photos on line of extravagant trips, shopping, drinking, partying. Screen shots have a way of ending up in your spouse’s hands, and can be used against you in ways you may not have considered.
Don’t Uniltarally Tell Your Children You Are Getting a Divorce
Don’t unilaterally tell your children you are getting a divorce. It is usually better for parents to share this information as a team. Your children do not want to take sides or be in the middle. Instead, use this opportunity to reassure your children that you both still love them, and that the divorce is not their fault.
Don’t Trash Your Spouse
Don’t “trash” your spouse to family, friends, and especially your children. Never assume your children cannot hear you or that information you share in confidence won’t get back to them or to your spouse. This includes Facebook, folks!
Don’t Drown Your Sorrows With Alcohol
Don’t drown your sorrows with alcohol. Allegations of excessive drinking may be used against you in a custody dispute. Many divorcing people suffer from emotional turmoil – anger, depression and other difficult feelings. This is understandably a difficult time. By all means get help from family, friends and/or professionals.
When in doubt, behave toward your spouse as you want your spouse to behave toward you. That’s the bottom line.
Deborah Ewing, Esq. is an experienced family law mediator, collaborative attorney and litigation counsel in Southern California