Divorces are legal proceedings, and a certain level of decorum is expected. However, that isn’t always easy, as tensions can run high and hot during a divorce. Here are a few things you should never do during a divorce to protect your case and make the process as easy as possible.
Don’t Use Your Children as Pawns or Leverage
Using your children as pawns or putting them in the middle of a tug-of-war custody battle doesn’t do good for anyone involved. You may be tempted to do so in order to get back at your spouse or hurt them, but this is one of the most important things you should never do during a divorce.
While you may succeed in hurting your partner, you’re also hurting your children, and a judge will pick up on that. You could seriously hurt your custody case if court officials determine that you make decisions based on flaring emotions such as anger.
Be Aware of Digital Records
Any emails, texts, or voicemails you send to your ex-spouse can be used against you in court, so choose your words wisely. Some states allow spouses to gather evidence against one another by recording in-person meetings or phone calls. While it is often much easier said than done, don’t fly off the handle, no matter how much they goad you. They’re likely doing this on purpose to get you to explode, and the evidence will be taken out of context to make you look bad.
Hire an Attorney
No matter how clear-cut you think a divorce proceeding may go, you should always work with an attorney. Family law is complex, and while you can legally represent yourself during divorce proceedings, it’s not wise to do so. A family attorney’s job is to represent you and inform you about how these proceedings work, what your options are, and what your role is as a client–so don’t be afraid to ask your family attorney the important questions.
Do Not Belittle Your Spouse to Others
Judges understand that you need someone to confide in, but try to keep the belittling and disparaging to a minimum. Unfortunately, the loved ones that you confide in can end up on the witness stand, and if asked about the things you’ve said, they must tell the truth. Even if your negative comments weren’t serious or were just said in the heat of the moment, they can still be taken out of context to paint you in a particular light.
Choose Your Battles Wisely
Don’t fall into the temptation of contesting everything if you don’t want your divorce to take an absurd amount of time and drag on, subsequently wasting time and money. You don’t need to win every little battle for the sake of pride or retaliation. Remember, this doesn’t just put stress on your spouse; it also puts stress on you. Almost any judge can easily identify tactics to draw out court proceedings purposefully.
Ultimately, your attorney and the judge understand this is a difficult time and emotions are bound to flare up. The best thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones is to stay calm, honest, and respectful.