The Do’s and Don’ts of Divorce

DOS AND DON’TS OF A DIVORCE

HIRE A LAWYER (Never go to a gunfight with a stick)

DO:

Get recommendations from friends, lawyer referral services.

Do your own research and interview the candidates.

Find a good match in terms of your personality.

Research attorney reviews on the Internet to get a feel on responsiveness, character, staff interactions, etc.

Do not read too much into one or two negative reviews. Consistent negative reviews is a bad sign but one or two negative reviews out of many positive reviews is usually a client that can never be made happy.

DON’TS:

Don’t hire a lawyer who has no family law experience.

Don’t hire a lawyer based solely on their reputation.

Don’t hire an attorney who never goes to court.

Don’t hire a lawyer who doesn’t have a systematic approach to communication.

Don’t hire an attorney with unhappy or rude staff.

WHAT DO I TELL MY LAWYER

DO:

Tell him or her the truth

Do you own legwork, copying and organization.

Stay organized. (Bringing your lawyer a Tupperware box full of documentation with no organization will only increase your attorney’s fees).

Answer your attorney’s questions honesty.

Fill out all worksheets given to you by your attorney in a timely manner.

Batch your questions for appointments or telephone appointments so as not to overwhelm your lawyer with information.

Be honest about all the bad things about your life or people that you associate with. In other words, talk about the skeletons in your closet.

DON’TS:

Don’t lie.

Don’t hide things.

Don’t ignore calls or letters.

Don’t bombard your lawyer with calls, messages or emails.

Don’t bring a box of documents, Tupperware box of documents, Ziploc baggy of documents with no sense of organization. (They teach us at seminars to avoid these types of clients; it’s a red flag people).

Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

HOW TO TREAT YOUR SPOUSE DURING THE CASE

DO:

Be civilized.

Set a healthy example for your children.

Engage in counseling; individually and / or family.

Walk away from fights.

Stop drinking alcohol. Now is not the time.

Exercise. Get sleep. Eat well.

Read.

DON’TS:

Don’t date during your divorce. You are still married until the divorce decree is entered and final.

Don’t spend money on your boyfriend or girlfriend. (If you can’t follow good lawyer advice).

Don’t put any nasty messages in writing such as emails or text messages.

Don’t leave nasty voice mails.

Don’t be nasty.

Always assume you are being photographed or recorded.

Don’t threaten to quit your job.

Don’t cancel health insurance, car insurance and the like.

CUSTODY AND PARENTING TIME

DO:

Be realistic.

Let your children spend extra time with your spouse or ex-spouse.

Gently parent your children.

Put your animosity or anger that you feel towards your spouse or ex-spouse aside for the benefit of your children.

Engage in family counseling or individual counseling where appropriate.

Let your children spend time with the extended family.

Be flexible.

Speak positively about your other spouse.

Allow the other parent telephonic access.

DON’TS

Don’t engage in parent alienation.

Don’t speak poorly about your spouse.

Don’t discuss the case with your children.

Don’t show the children your legal paperwork.

Don’t use your children as a messenger.

Don’t have your children act as spies.

Don’t be unreasonably rigid in your scheduling.

Don’t create extracurricular activities to exclude the other spouse from having parenting time.

PROPERTY

DO:

Fill out the master asset list for your attorney promptly and list all assets.

Answer your questions on time.

Maintain your property so as not to lose value.

Obtain a free online credit report.

DON’TS:

Don’t refinance property.

Don’t buy real estate without discussing it with your attorney.

Don’t hide assets.

Don’t spend money on your boyfriend or girlfriend (you’re not supposed to have one anyway.)

Don’t lie on your discovery or play games.

Don’t sell property without speaking to your attorney.

Don’t destroy property.

Don’t take money out of the retirement funds.

Don’t argue about insignificant property such as X Boxes or furniture that is not worth anything unless it has sentimental value.

SOCIAL MEDIA

DO’S:

Stop or limit your social media use.

If you come across your spouse’s postings or photos online that reflect poorly on him or her, please print that out or preserve that evidence.

DON’TS:

Don’t use social media to respond in anger to bad things that are happening in your life or air your grievances about your spouse or your ex-spouse.

Don’t flaunt your new girlfriend or boyfriend on social media (that you are not supposed to have anyway).

Don’t change your social status on Facebook from married to single because you are still married.

Don’t post the horrible pictures of yourself that reflect badly on your character. (Being drunk, acting stupid, flipping the bird, etc.).

DEBT

Do’s

Maintain the status quo. Pay the minimum payment due. Keep a paper trail.

Don’ts

Don’t run up your credit card. Don’t pay off your credit card unless your lawyer tells you to do so. Don’t change things with reference to your credit.

IF you have other questions, contact our office for a case assessment.