The Do’s & Do Not’s of Divorce

Divorce can be a very stressful and emotional time. As a result, during the divorce process, normally rational people will often find their selves acting impulsively, immature and with poor judgment. But this is something that we can control if we anticipate it and patiently take time to think before we act. Always think through a distressing situation – perhaps “sleeping on it” and talking with your attorney before you act.

Keep the end goal and future in mind. Remember, what might have seemed like “the thing to do at the moment” may very well cause many legal problems in your case later. Your ability to make good decisions and use good judgment will be diminished when you are feeling strong emotions and/or you have not had sufficient sleep and time to think clearly about the situation.

Try to follow the Do’s and Do Not’s below and you will be able to avoid many self-created regrets in your divorce case. Things will be better for you in the immediate and future of your case.

Divorce: The Do’s and Do Not’s of Assets

•Do use good business sense when deciding what to fight for and at what cost should you fight for it.
•Do be honest and tell your attorney everything. It will be much easier for your attorney to help you in the divorce process if she/he knows everything up front.
•Do completely disclose all your assets and property to your attorney and your spouse when required to.
•Do not be greedy and insist on more than your fair share in your divorce case. Contrary to what you may feel, it usually does not matter if it was you or your spouse that originally wanted the divorce. You are not entitled to more than your equitable fair share in court just because you are emotionally hurt and feel betrayed.
•Do not hide property from your spouse by giving it to your friends or relatives and plan to take back for this can let your spouse drag you back to the court for settlement.
•Do not spend thousands of dollars in attorney fees fighting over a $150 piece of furniture.

Divorce: The Do’s and Do Not’s of Working with Your Attorney

•Do use an experienced divorce attorney who will have the needed experience and knowledge of the law to make sure that your interests are protected. Choose an attorney you feel comfortable with and has your best interests at heart.
•Do document everything that you might think will be important later on and discuss it with your attorney. Keep a journal of important dates and events and keep copies of important documents and pictures.
•Do be practical and flexible in settling your divorce case. Clients that settle their divorces cases generally spend less money are happier with the result because they got to make the decision rather than the court. However, this does not mean you should agree to a bad settlement just because it is cheaper in the short run.
•Do take the time to go through all the documents produced in your case. Clients will often notice things in documents produced by their spouse that the attorney may not have any way of knowing is significant in the case.
• Do not represent yourself. Even experienced attorneys that are getting divorced use an attorney.
• Do not follow the advice of your friends without first discussing with your attorney. Though your friends may have good intentions listen to your attorney who can speak from real life court experience.
• Do not take legal advice from your friends (unless they are also divorce attorneys). Divorce attorneys in Georgia have to complete a four (4) year undergraduate degree, take the LSAT and be accepted to a law school, successfully complete a three (3) or four (4) year law degree program (which is a doctorate degree), pass the bar exam and then be sworn into the courts of Georgia. It is not wise to think you can get good legal advice from your friend that just happened to go through two divorces and thinks he knows the law.
• Do not date during the divorce process without discussing with your attorney. If you and your spouse are recently separated and custody of your children or assets is at issue – nothing good can usually come from it.
• Do not sign any documents without reading it yourself and with your attorney.
• Do not pay money directly to your spouse without discussing with your attorney. It is not uncommon for these transactions to be disputed and a source of many disagreements and problems later.
•Do not miss any appearance in the court without being excused by the court beforehand. You should always discuss any difficulties attending a court hearing well in advance with your attorney.
• Do not choose an attorney just because she/he agrees with everything you say and want. This is usually the sign of an inexperienced attorney or an attorney that is desperate for your business.

Divorce: The Do’s and Do Not’s Regarding Your Children

•Do make your children feel as comfortable as possible in your new home. Provide your children with their own rooms, furniture, beds and toys in your new home.
•Do make the children feel that your new home is also their home. You can do this by continuing chores they were responsible for at your prior home in your new home.
•Do make sure your children continue their activities and social life. Your children have lessons, sports, birthday parties and friends. It is important that these things continue to be a part of their lives.
•Do show respect towards your spouse in front of the children.
•Do make sure that the children know they are not the reason for the divorce. Without reassurance, children will often begin to blame their selves for the divorce. Make sure your children do not feel responsible for the divorce.
•Do not use your children to deliver messages to your spouse. Also, do not ask your children to deliver anything to your spouse. This puts your children unnecessarily in the middle of the case.
•Do not use your children to spy on your spouse.
•Do not ask your children to choose which parent they want to live with.
•Do not use your children as leverage in negotiating a settlement in your case.
•Do not stop the children from seeing the other parent because he or she owes you money.
•Do not pay your child support late. Paying your child support late does not look good in court and can cause unnecessary attorney’s fees. Furthermore, your spouse may file a citation for contempt of court against you. You always want to be viewed as the responsible part that always pays his/her child support on time.
•Do not pick up your children for visitation if have been drinking or have taken drugs. You can be assured your spouse will make this an issue in the divorce case. Your spouse may refuse you to let you have visitation and call the police on you. It should be obvious that no good can come from any of this in your divorce case. If you are having substance abuse problems, you should seek help immediately.
•Do not infringe any visitation arrangement for this might backfire at you which might lose the primary custody of your children.
•Do not discuss the details of the divorce with your children. Judges do not like this — and your children are not usually mature enough to properly handle the emotional strain.
•Do not make promises to your children that you cannot keep. This will only cause more emotional pain and disappointment later.
•Do not cause your children to become unnecessarily involved in your divorce. The divorce is between you and your spouse. Again, Judges do not like this — and your children are not usually mature enough to properly handle the emotional strain.
•Do not talk badly about your spouse down in front of the children. It is not uncommon for children to silently disagree with the negative things one spouse says about the other – and this information may come out and hurt your case later.
•Do not yell, call names and fight with your spouse in front of your children. Children have long memories for things like this and it can cause them unnecessary emotional stress. Learn to control yourself in front of your children.
•Do not question the children regarding the activities of your spouse.

Divorce: Do’s and Do Not’s — Other

•Do get professional help if you need it to cope with your divorce.
•Do change all of your passwords to all of your email accounts and social website accounts. Many clients are surprised to later find out later their spouse has been reading their emails for months – even after the case is filed.
•Do not rehash the things that have happened in the past, you can’t change what has already ready happened
•Do not move out of the house until the court issue an order. If you fear physical abuse seek help and talk to your lawyer.
•Do not attempt to move to another country or switch jobs till the divorce proceedings are settled for your new life might interfere in the process which may take longer than required.
•Do not snoop into your spouse’s emails and social website accounts. While the temptation to do this may be great, this can be illegal and cause many problems in a divorce case later.