What Can You Not Do During a Divorce?

What Can You Not Do During a Divorce?

Here is a list of a few important things that you cannot do, or rather you should not do, during your divorce proceedings:

  1. Dismiss an amicable resolution
  2. Neglect your children or expose them to the divorce proceedings
  3. Refuse a therapist’s help
  4. Act in haste or anger
  5. Hide assets
  6. Agree to settle early (without negotiating much)

Don’t Dismiss an Amicable Resolution

Mediation and collaborative divorce processes can help dissolve a marriage in an affordable, informal, quick, confidential, and friendly manner. What’s more, these are legally sound ADR (Alternative Dispute Resolution) processes that help resolve about 98% of divorces in America without going to trial.

That said, divorce or separation may involve arguments, fights, stress, and bruised egos. Things can reach a point when some spouses may be itching for a fight in the courts because both feel that the other spouse is in the wrong.

As it is divorce is tragic, its aftermath is adversarial, and if a court battle follows, it can add fuel to the fire. A court battle destroys precious time and money, and it plays on the emotions of the spouses and their children. Therefore, no matter how nasty the situation may be, spouses should consider getting out of it amicably and affordably.

Don’t Neglect your Children or Expose Them to the Divorce Proceedings

Minor children need to be shielded from the impact of divorce or separation and you should focus on creating a supportive environment for them. First, you should not discuss the divorce with them or badmouth the other spouse. Focus on their needs, schooling, extracurricular activities, homework, etc. – in general, keep things going as usual for them. Second, keep them in a relaxed state of mind and if they ask what’s going on, just inform them something along the lines of, “Mom and dad are working things out for the good of the family.”

When minor children are exposed to the ugliness and tragedy of divorce, the fallout can trouble them and influence their behavior and character even after they become adults. So, don’t neglect to be around your children just because you are getting hassled by the divorce proceedings – and keep them insulated, as far as possible, from the divorce. If you use your children as weapons in the divorce, your child custody case may weaken and your relationship with your children too may become fragile.

Don’t Refuse a Therapist’s Help

A therapist can help you cope with the divorce’s aftermath by making you consider the practical and healthier outlook of your divorce. These professionals can help you transition smoothly from marriage to being single and guide you through the rough patch you are experiencing.

Divorce can impact your health, destabilize your emotions, and squeeze your finances. Therapy can help you stave off the ill effects of divorce on your physical and mental health – and develop coping skills for what’s coming next. You will learn how to behave in court, how to handle kids, how to control your anger, fight depression, and more – therefore if you are feeling down and out, do not refuse to seek a therapist’s help.

Don’t Act in Haste or Anger

Many separated spouses are likely to become impulsive and vent their anger on the other spouse because they want him/her to pay for the events that led to the divorce. Sure, they may be experiencing tough times and wondering how the future will pan out – still, it is advisable not to act in haste or anger.

Anger and haste can spur you to make rash, emotional, or irrational decisions that have the potential to weaken your case. We urge you to work with an experienced family law attorney who believes in an amicable resolution of divorce cases. Such attorneys can help you stay grounded and calm throughout the proceedings.

Remember that the divorce is past tense and you now have to focus on what is to be done next – and anger and haste may adversely impact the future you have planned. Doing the right thing now instead of the rash thing can help you build a better future. So, keep your anger, impulsiveness, and emotions in check during the divorce proceedings.

Don’t Hide Assets

If you hide, undervalue, or understate marital assets, exaggerate debts, and lie about your assets and liabilities under oath, then that means you have committed perjury. If your lie is discovered, and it likely will be, the courts may make you pay the other spouse’s attorney fees, levy penalties, dismiss your claims, award the other spouse a larger share of the marital pie, and even award you jail time (in some extreme cases).

The big picture is that when you lie about your assets, you lose credibility with the courts. The courts may then assume you are lying about other things as well. We urge all spouses to be honest, transparent, and fair, and disclose all marital and separate assets to the court.

Don’t Settle Early

Many divorcing spouses want an exit at the earliest possible moment. They may negotiate in haste and end up compromising their future. We urge all divorcing spouses to make a list of their assets and liabilities, including all kinds of properties, common marital assets as well as separate marital properties , health insurance policies, details of income earned by both the spouses, retirement funds, tax forms, brokerage statements, credit card statements, and more, as applicable. It makes the spouses aware of what they own and what they owe, and that can be used as a starting point as spouses plan their future.

If you act in haste and settle early, you may not get the time to draw up a list of properties and discuss their division with your family law attorney. It could jeopardize your finances in the future. So, be cool and calm, and don’t be in a rush to settle.

Other miscellaneous “don’ts” include:

  • Don’t forget to change the names of the owners/beneficiaries in your property and legal documents.
  • Don’t forget to ask your CPA about the implications of your divorce on taxation.
  • Don’t be rigid when it comes to meeting your ex-spouse halfway when he/she proposes a reasonable deal (your attorney can guide you on this one).
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About the Author: Marco Brown
Marco C. Brown was named Utah’s Outstanding Family Law Lawyer of the Year in 2015. He graduated with distinction from the University of Nebraska College of Law in 2007 and is currently the managing partner of Brown Family Law, LLC.
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