Five Things You Should Never Do During Divorce Proceedings
Your impending divorce may be one of the most difficult experiences of your life, even if you and your spouse arrived at the decision to divorce on mutual terms. Unfortunately, the actual process of ending a marriage tends to bring out some of the worst in some people. If you are like many divorcing individuals, you may find your spouse unrecognizable once your divorce proceedings formally begin.
At Bickford, Blado & Botros, we hope to provide clients and prospective clients in the San Diego area with useful tips and information that help them make more informed decisions about their divorce cases. We understand how stressful these experiences can be for everyone involved and want to help you avoid some of the most common mistakes that can negatively affect your divorce proceedings. Whether you plan to mediate your divorce or go to trial, keep the following tips in mind.
Avoid Social Media
Social media has become deeply ingrained into modern life. However, while it may feel like a good place to vent your frustrations and seek compassionate support from friends and family, you should avoid talking about your divorce on social media. In fact, it may be best to avoid posting altogether until your divorce is finalized. Browse through your news feed to your heart’s content but be sure to keep your social media use completely passive.
Experienced attorneys often recommend that their clients stay away from social media entirely when they are involved in legal proceedings of any kind. Posting the wrong thing at the wrong time has the potential to work against your case in some surprising ways. Even seemingly innocent posts can be used against you, so it is best to avoid speaking publicly about your divorce.
Keep Calm and Stay Focused on What’s Important
You and your spouse may have deep personal issues that cause you emotional distress, but this does not mean you should allow your emotions to get the better of you at any point in your divorce case. Whether you and your spouse take advantage of alternative dispute resolution or settle your divorce through private mediation, keep your emotions in check throughout. Maintaining this objectivity is crucial for ensuring a positive experience in your divorce.
It is not uncommon for divorcing spouses to harbor bitter resentment toward one another to try and provoke each other into emotional eruptions. If you find it difficult to speak with your spouse without losing your cool, consult your divorce attorney and have them handle communications on your behalf.
Do Not Lie to Your Children
If you are a divorcing parent, it is important for you and your spouse to be honest and clear while discussing divorce with your children. This can be exceedingly difficult with younger children, who have no frame of reference for what is happening around them. However, it is important to do your best to stay honest with children of all ages and answer their questions. Many kids act out in surprising ways when they realize their family unit is deteriorating. Lying or altering the truth will not only increase the intensity and frequency of such episodes but may also irreparably harm the child/parent relationship.
Unfortunately, some divorcing parents attempt to weaponize their children against the other parent. You may think that casting your spouse in a bad light will bring your child closer to you, but the reality is that one day they will discover the truth behind your intentions. If your children discover that you lied to them, it is highly likely their opinion of you will change. You may never establish the same level of trust with them again.
Do Not Attempt to Hide Assets
California upholds a strict community property law, meaning that you should expect to part with half of your marital property in divorce. Some people find this unfair and attempt to hide assets to avoid their division in divorce proceedings. This decision is a mistake that will undoubtedly backfire. Financial disclosure requires complete accuracy and truthfulness, and an experienced attorney will help you ensure you have included all your assets and property. In the event you encounter any disputes about the nature of specific assets, your attorney can help you clarify these issues.
Both you and your spouse have the right to consult financial experts to address any suspicions the other person may be attempting to hide assets. While you might believe that you have cleverly disguised certain assets to protect them from California’s community property statute, the courts will almost certainly reveal any obfuscations. This behavior puts you at risk for serious legal consequences, so remember that honesty is always the best policy when it comes to financial disclosure in your divorce.
Do Not Try to Handle Divorce Alone
Divorce can be one of the most difficult experiences of your life. It is natural to feel alienated and confused regarding what to expect, so continue to rely on your support system during the divorce process. However, ensure you do not try and weaponize friends or family against your soon-to-be-ex-spouse. Your divorce will negatively affect more people than you might initially realize, so do not make things worse by trying to coax people to “your side.”
Additionally, avoid making the mistake of thinking you do not need a divorce attorney to help you navigate the divorce process. Even a seemingly straightforward divorce can entail numerous surprises. You will want to prepare for them as best as you can by working with an experienced attorney. Your legal team can handle your procedural obligations and help you prepare for each phase of the process so you can approach your divorce with peace of mind.
Divorce is difficult, and every divorce case will involve unique issues that require the attention of a seasoned San Diego, CA divorce attorney. If you are preparing to divorce in the near future and are unsure of what to expect, contact Bickford, Blado & Botros to schedule a consultation. Our experienced and compassionate legal team can help you navigate your divorce with greater confidence.
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