We often see clients make mistakes that can harm them during a divorce, or that prolong the process. Understanding the most common divorce mistakes can help you effectively navigate your divorce.
Don’t make these top divorce mistakes:
1. Waiting to see a lawyer: Odds are that you will not wake up one day and out of nowhere decide that you need to get divorced. Issues in a marriage build over time. If you are struggling in your marriage, it is important to get a clear understanding of your rights and responsibilities under the law that governs divorce in your state. Understanding your possible financial obligations to your spouse may help you decide what to do. While certain acts of “divorce planning” can be frowned upon (e.g. moving or hiding assets) there may be some things you should be doing to prepare. Don’t worry. Just because you meet with a divorce lawyer that does not mean you definitely will be divorced. We often consult with people who still are working on staying married and that can be successful. Arming yourself with applicable information when considering a divorce is important.But you should be armed with information if you are considering divorce.
2. Knee-jerk texting and emailing with your spouse: When emotions are heightened, it can be hard to exercise restraint in your communications. Expect that every text message and email that you send to your spouse will be attached to court papers at some point during your divorce proceedings. Think through your responses. Avoid name-calling and keep the emotion out of your tone.
3. Recording a spouse or children or not thinking that you are being recorded: Divorce clients often reveal to us that they have been recording their spouses and children. Our negative reaction to this can come as a shock. Clients view recordings as solid proof of their claims during a divorce. Even though New York is a one-party consent state (only one party to the recording needs to consent), typically courts see this practice differently. The recorder often is viewed as manipulating the conversation to trigger a response and achieve that “gotcha” moment. The interaction is staged. Trust us: recordings in divorce cases rarely have the impact you expect. As for recording your kids, just don’t do it. Recording your children is seen as poor judgment and could jeopardize your position in a custody case. On the flip side, even if you are not recording your spouse, always expect that your spouse could be recording you. If things become heated, walk away instead of engaging.
4. Thinking you can keep suspicious spending a secret: New York requires full financial disclosure in divorce cases. Credit and debit card records can provide the most interesting information in a divorce. Unless you use cash or someone else’s accounts to make purchases, odds are that your spouse will find out what you have been doing. While New York judges are not phased by claims of adultery, those credit card statements that reveal lavish spending on another partner or secret trips can cause a lot of anger from your spouse and derail divorce settlements. Assume that everything is going to come out in the open. If you think your spending is going to send your soon to be ex into a tailspin, either settle your divorce case quickly before documents are exchanged or be open about what you have been doing.
Thinking about a divorce? Choosing a divorce lawyer that works best for you can be difficult. That’s why we’ve created some tips to help you choose the best divorce lawyer to help you navigate your divorce.