Smart divorce tips
Your divorce can go relatively smoothly, or become "the war of the roses" over what might seem to be fairly minor or unimportant actions you might take. Also, there are a number of simple, smart strategies which we recommend based on our years of experience helping clients like you navigate their divorces. Here are a few of the most important:
• Don't move from the home prior to talking to a lawyer. If you do, you may lose a significant tactical advantage regarding the use of the house, access to financial resources, or parenting time with your children. In many situations, it may be reasonable to move, but you should get good advice on this before doing so. Of course, if you believe that you, or your children, are in danger, you should go to a safe place, contact the police, and contact an attorney.
• Avoid arguments or fights of any kind. Don't threaten, or participate in any violence with your spouse. If you end up appearing to be the initiator, even if you weren't, this can have a major negative impact on your divorce and access to your children. If you believe this type of situation is building, get yourself out of it as quickly as possible. If violence, or a serious threat of it, does occur, call the police immediately.
• Do not begin a new relationship during your divorce, and if one already exists, put it on hold until the divorce is over. The relationship could affect the outcome of the divorce. The new person could be dragged into the divorce process for depositions and hearings. And, most importantly, the new relationship almost always negatively impacts the ability to settle your divorce. Since over 90% of all divorces end by settlement, this is where the new relationship really has an impact. Believe us, and many of our past clients, it is not worth it!
• If you have children, put them first in everything you do. Divorce is very hard on children, but the impact can be greatly lessened if you stay aware of how your actions or reactions might affect them. Unless a safety concern exists, cooperate with phone calls and visits between the children and the other parent. If children are staying with the other parent, continue to have regular contact with them, or make every effort to do so. It can also be important to document your contacts or efforts to contact. Do not bring a new relationship around the children during the divorce.
• Gather all financial information which you have access to, and make copies of documents that might easily be destroyed or lost. Normally, you may open a new bank account in order to begin to protect some of the assets. If there is a temporary restraining order or injunction in place, then you will need to consult with an attorney about any financial changes.
• Do not threaten to financially break the other spouse (or to quit your job). This type of threat can have a huge negative impact on the process, and is not looked upon kindly by Judges. In fact, you should be careful to maintain the status quo as much as possible, until an agreement is reached otherwise. Also, do not make any large purchases or expenditures. These could make you look bad, but also could decrease options for settlement of your divorce.
• Be very careful about communications with the other spouse. Assume all written communications will be used against you in court, and also that anything you say is being recorded. It also wouldn't hurt to assume your Mother is listening in as well! If you have a personal email account that you have been using during your marriage, assume that the other party not only has the password, but has the ability to access the account even if you change the password. We advise you to create a new account and use it for all communications except with your spouse.
• Although many individuals are able to resolve their divorces with little or no legal advice, there are many circumstances where legal advice can be critical, and the earlier you get it the better. Some early strategic decisions can make a big difference in the outcome of your divorce.