Divorce: What Should I Not Do?
There are a list of behaviors and things that are recognized by the court to start conflict during contested divorce cases. The attorneys involved with your case are professionals and will be able to quickly identify if you are engaging in behaviors or actions to incite conflict. If you do engage in such behaviors it may negatively impact the outcome of your legal case and work against your objectives within such case. While emotion does could judgment, you should be careful and patient – and do nothing in your case that you may later regret or may reflect negatively on your reputation if you are discovered to be at fault.
The following is a list of common actions that should be avoided at all cost:
• Do not date during a divorce proceeding: A new romantic partner may add to conflict during the litigation, add on additional attorney’s fees due to involvement in the case, impact terms of custody or visitation, and or the divorce proceeding could negatively impact your relationship with prospective individuals.
• Do not spend money on girlfriend or boyfriend: Spending money on non-family matters during a family law case can get parties in big trouble; especially if the moneys spent are from marital funds. Spending additional money can also lead to a lack of funds to finance a family law case.
• Do not take an opposite sex roommate: As innocent as you may try to make it sound – it is very common for the other party and their attorney to make what may be a platonic friendship or roommate situation sound like a hot and heavy live-in-lover affair to the court. This can be very detrimental to a case, especially one involving minor children and alimony.
• Do not give property items to girlfriend or boyfriend: Giving items to a new romantic partner during a court hearing may violate your standing order and would look like a revenge tactic to be spiteful to your spouse. The courts heavily dislike this type of behavior and could consider punitive measures to correct any wrongs resulting on such behavior.
• Do not put anything in writing you don’t want as evidence: Anything you write during a divorce proceeding can be used against you in court as evidence. All forms of written text are admissible such as text messages, emails, and social media posts.
• Do not say anything you don’t want as evidence: Anything you say can be used against you in court especially if there is some type of hard proof of what was said such as a recording or voicemail. In the State of Georgia there is one party consent for tape recording conversations so it is important to be aware that you may be tape recorded at any time you are discussing things with your spouse—and that these recording would count as evidence.
• Do not threaten to do anything that may harm the other party: This could be as small as threatening to quit your job to harm the other party financially or could be as serious as threatening to turn the other party into a state agency (police, DCFS, IRS, etc.) based on false allegations. Any action like this for revenge will appear to be malicious to court professionals involved and will reflect negatively upon your character.
• Do not cancel anything that the spouse currently utilizes under joint account: This could be as basic as a phone line or could concern health insurance programs or life insurance. If the spouse is dissolved from these accounts during a legal proceeding the judge will see the termination as malicious and doing such actions may violate a standing order if one is present.
• Do not do anything that could be viewed as malicious. If you are unsure about your actions, err on the side of caution – and get the advice of your attorney of a neutral third party such as a therapist or your minister. Do not take the advice of close friends that may be too involved with the situation.