Divorce can cause emotions to run high and tempers to flare, which can cause you to do things that could harm your case if it goes to court. Here’s a list of things you should NOT do when getting a divorce, to help you avoid giving your spouse ammunition to use against you.
1. Do NOT post on social media, send texts or emails about your spouse
In the digital age, it’s very tempting to post on social media, send texts or emails having a pop at your spouse… but don’t. Posts on social media, text messages and emails can be used as evidence against you when getting a divorce.
The best thing to do is assume nothing is private and avoid posting pictures and status updates on social media, sending text messages and emails that mention your spouse in any way. If you don’t want a judge to see or read it, don’t share it. There’s a high probability it will be used as evidence in court.
2. Do NOT use your child(ren) as leverage against your spouse
Threatening to stop your spouse seeing the kids or turning them against the other parent will not end well for you or your child(ren). Knowing that their parents are getting a divorce will be hard enough on your child(ren), without you trying to use them to manipulate your spouse.
Your child(ren) will need to see their parents resolving disputes in a constructive and sensible way. Remember, you are a parent and a role model first and foremost. How you deal with problems will set the standard for how your child(ren) will face their parents getting a divorce and other issues in life.
3. Do NOT threaten or harass your spouse
Threatening or harassing your spouse will only make your situation worse and will be used as evidence against you, if your case has to go to court. It will also make the process of getting a divorce longer and more expensive. There is of course also the risk of your spouse making an application to the Court for a Non-molestation Injunction Order.
4. Do NOT expect to take your spouse for everything they have
Even though you might be angry, don’t think that getting a divorce is an opportunity to take your spouse for everything they have as revenge. It’s not how the law operates. The law is geared towards finding a fair solution for you and your spouse.
5. Do NOT try to conceal your finances or assets
Any attempt to conceal your finances or assets is likely to be found out and the consequences are serious. You could be fined, and while unlikely, you could be imprisoned for contempt of court. Divorce is a serious matter and you will be required to disclose your finances by way of a Form E financial statement. If you don’t disclose all of your assets, the Court do have the power to reduce your share of the assets if they believe that you are not telling the truth.
6. Do NOT shop around for just ‘any’ lawyer
There are thousands of lawyers, but be clear that you need a family and divorce lawyer, someone who understands divorce laws. This will help you narrow down your search. Choose a divorce lawyer that’s local, so you can meet with them and gauge if they’re the right professional to represent you.
See Holland Family Law’s article on why you should choose a local family lawyer.
7. Do NOT think you can do divorce on the cheap
A DIY divorce is never as cost-effective as it’s made out to be and court costs and divorce lawyer fees will add up. To keep costs as low as you can, hire a divorce lawyer with experience. Given what’s at stake, be realistic about costs.
8. DON’T listen too much to other people
Everyone thinks they’re an expert when it comes to dealing with difficult situations, including getting a divorce. However, in most cases, friends and family who are close to the situation often end up stirring things up between you and your spouse, potentially making things worse.
There was a time you were able to resolve things amicably with your spouse and you will need to find a way to do so when getting a divorce. Taking advice from too many other voices could lead to further resentment against your spouse, making the divorce process longer and more expensive.