The Divorce Process: Do's and Don'ts
Everything seemed so simple at the start of your romance; you never expected divorce to be such a difficult process. Even in the best of circumstances, tempers may run high, and every decision can seem to be more stressful than the last. It is only human to find yourself reacting emotionally at certain stages of a divorce, but it is important to remember that your actions throughout the process can affect your familial, emotional, and financial situation for years to come. Following are some "do's and don'ts" for the divorce process.
- DO be reasonable and cooperate as much as possible with your soon-to-be-ex. Reasonable compromise yields quicker and easier results in divorce cases.
- DO support your children through this process. It's even tougher on them than on you. Don't make them pick sides.
- DO let your spouse know when and where you will spend time with your kids while you work out permanent custody arrangements. Your spouse might think you've made a run for the border -- and if your soon-to-be-ex has to ask the police to track you down, that won't look good during custody or visitation hearings.
- DO fully disclose all your assets and property. A court can throw out a divorce decree based on financial deception, putting you back in court years after you thought everything was final.
- DO know your options. Depending on your circumstances, you may be eligible for a non-divorce alternative like summary dissolution, annulment, or legal separation.
- DO your own research. With a little help, you can be well-informed regarding:
- DO ask your attorney if anything doesn't make sense. Your attorney works for you, and should help you understand every part of the divorce process.
- DON’T lose your cool. No matter how frustrated you get, don’t make matters worse by lashing out at your ex or your children.
- DON'T make big plans to take a job in another state or move out of the country until your divorce is final. Your new life could interfere with getting your divorce finalized.
- DON'T violate any temporary custody or visitation arrangements. It could make it tougher for you to get the custody or visitation rights you prefer.
- DON'T "give away" property to friends or relatives and arrange to get it back later. Hiding property can mean your spouse can take you back to court to settle those assets.
- DON'T go it alone. Divorce is complicated, and an attorney can make sure that your interests are protected.
Divorce isn’t easy on anyone: you, your soon-to-be ex, and especially your children. Navigating a divorce can be a difficult process, both emotionally and legally. If you feel like you need help with your divorce case, you can consult with an experienced divorce attorney in your area. You can also find more general information on this topic in FindLaw’s divorce section.