Going through a divorce is hard no matter what the circumstances. We, as divorce attorneys, are not seeing people at their best. However, regardless of what you have going on, here are a list of the top 10 things to avoid doing when going through a divorce. We hope you have fun with this, we did.
1. Don’t get a DUI
Do you want your soon-to-be ex calling you a drunk during a custody battle? If you hand a judge proof of your errors in judgment, it’s not going to go well for you. Also, don’t start or return to an illegal or prescription drug habit.
2. Don’t post nasty things about your ex on Facebook.
“This becomes part of the evidence in a contentious divorce,” Tarascio said. “What you say on Facebook is public and could be used against you.”
3. Don’t post naked pictures of yourself on Craigslist or singles web sites.
Like #2, this situation has happened when a suddenly ‘free’ spouse starts looking for companionship online and does too much ‘advertising.’ “When people are divorcing they often are so upset that they start making bad decisions,” Tarascio said.
4. Don’t forget about filing taxes
The IRS will come calling you if you file taxes as a single person, when your spouse files as married. A divorce changes your tax-filing status and you must work with your ex-spouse to decide how to file, and who gets to claim what as deductions. This is an area where it’s best to speak with an accountant, even if you usually do your own taxes online.
5. Don’t get pregnant or impregnate others
Again, this seems obvious, but getting pregnant during a divorce is lousy timing. If a woman becomes pregnant, that child may be presumed to be a product of the marriage when that’s not the case. Additionally, a new baby creates child support issues with a 21-year contract and ongoing parenting issues.
6. Don’t drain the bank accounts
If you put the other spouse in financial harm by taking the money out of the accounts, you’ll have to account for it later and pay up. If you’re in a custody battle, you’ll lose points with the judge and it could cost you your children.
7. Don’t stalk your ex
Calling your ex 20 times a day can be considered stalking. Repeatedly driving by his or her house to see whose car is in the driveway can be considered stalking. If you get labeled a stalker, your ex may file a restraining order against you, and that legal record can affect not only your divorce, but future employment.
8. Don’t text nasty messages to your ex
Your spouse’s attorney can demand copies of all of your text messages and emails as part of the discovery process. If your messages are filled with rage, expletives and threats, it will become part of a courthouse record that is accessible to anyone who goes looking.
9. Don’t cancel your spouse’s utilities or insurance coverage
Thought you’d turn the electricity off? Not so fast. If the pipes freeze and the house is damaged, the insurance company may come looking to you to pay the cost. If it’s health insurance, the judge may sock you with any bills that aren’t covered because you cancelled the insurance. This is a game not worth playing.
10. Don’t sleep with your attorney
This seems like a no-brainer, but it happens. Not only is it illegal in many states, your attorney can’t represent you adequately if there is a personal relationship getting in the way. And if you’re not getting adequate representation, then what exactly are you paying for?