As most know, divorcing can be a very stressful and cumbersome experience. However, there are actions and steps that can and should be taken to make the process easier (See our blog post: Divorce Tips) and there are actions that should be avoided so as to not make a stressful situation worse.
Actions that should be avoided by any divorcing person are:
1) Being Dishonest In Court: You should tell the truth. When testifying, credibility is of the utmost importance. If your credibility is thrown into question, your case can go downhill fast. Let your attorney know of any issues or events that you are “hoping” won’t come up.
2) Being Dishonest or Evasive With Your Attorney: Your attorney can not assist you with something that he or she is not aware of. You should be honest with any issue or event that could have an impact on your divorce. It could be very determinative of how your cases is analyzed. All relevant facts are important. Your attorney is not taking your case to judge you. Your attorney is seeking to assist you in obtaining the best possible outcome for you and/or your children.
3)Making Bad Financial Decisions Based On Emotion: Poor decisions can be based on love, hostility, regret, sympathy, impatience, grief, fear and/or a number of other emotions. However, decisions should be weighed carefully and you should talk over any concerns with your attorney. You should prepare and insist on being fully engaged in your divorce, even when you don’t feel like being.
4)Not Producing Documents or Answering Interrogatories (Questions) As Required: Your attorney can tell you if there are any exceptions that apply to your case, but generally you should produce financial documents and answer interrogatories, as requested. It will make the process of divorce smoother and help you avoid additional fees and court costs that may be sought against you by the opposing party, if you do not comply.
5)Be Uncooperative with a Guardian Ad Litem or Other Court Expert (During Contested Divorce and Child Custody Cases): The expert is involved in your case to assist the Court in reaching a determination. It is not in your best interest to appear uncooperative and make the expert’s duties more difficult to fulfill.
6)Failing to Analyze Your Case Before Settlement: It is often not wise to reach an agreement prior to fully analyzing all the facts and circumstances. That’s why settlement is at its best once each party has disclosed their financial circumstances and an analysis of the case can be completed. By not doing so, there is a greater degree of uncertainty, a higher chance that one of the parties will be seeking post-judgment relief quickly thereafter, and an increased chance of regretting one’s decision.
7 )Picking Your Attorney Solely Based On His/Her Fees: You should pick your attorney based on his/her experience, knowledge, your comfort level and ability to communicate with him/her , their relative attorney fees charged, and their interest in your case. Attorney fees charged should be merely one of many factors to be considered.
8 ) Taking Legal Advice From Friends and/or Family: You must remember that just because someone gives you advice, especially legal advice, that does not mean it is correct. The law varies based on the facts of each individual case and is not to be generalized to apply across the board. You should listen to your attorney and ask questions as they arise. If you would like to obtain independent legal advice (from another attorney) about a particular topic, you should do so. However, it is wise to not talk about the specifics of your case with friends and family for a number of reasons.
9) Concealing and Transferring Property: Concealing or transferring property to avoid equitable division in a divorce is not a good idea. The “unknowing” spouse may be awarded any property subject to such concealment and transfer. The Court, your attorney, and spouse will all likely doubt your credibility.
10) Putting Kids In the Middle of The Divorce: Try to keep your children’s lives as normal as possible. Do not speak negatively about the other parent to your children. Children are not meant to be therapists or counselors. Let them be children and take their time adjusting to the change.
Post written by Tiffany R. Lunn Esq.