PLAY TO YOUR AUDIENCE.
There is only one person you will need to impress: the judge. Check all behavior through the lens of, “how will the judge react to me doing this?” If you think your conduct may offend or irritate the judge, don’t do it. Because we can’t always be objective about ourselves, it’s important to hire a lawyer who knows the judge and has good common sense.
CONTROL YOUR EMOTIONS.
Don’t send text messages, e-mails and Facebook posts when you are angry–your spouse will use them against you if given an opportunity. Remember: the judge may read your angry text or incriminating social media post. Only write or say something that will not offend the judge or something you wouldn’t mind seeing on the front page of the newspaper.
TURN DOWN THE VOLUME.
Everybody feels scared and vulnerable shortly before a divorce starts. This results in people making threats or acting out. Don’t do it, and don’t respond. Call the police if your spouse misbehaves or file for an order of protection (which you can get without filing a divorce). Try to maintain normalcy during this difficult period, particularly if you have children.
DON’T HIT THE PANIC BUTTON.
Don’t start disposing of money or hiding accounts. Your spouse’s lawyer will likely find it anyway. This conduct will likely boomerang and cause the judge to mistrust you. If you worry about your spouse removing money, contact us immediately so we can seek court orders to protect you.
WATCH YOUR BACK.
Don’t be paranoid, but some track their spouse’s comings and goings via GPS, or watch their spouse’s computer using spyware. Change all your passwords and exclude your spouse from any of your cell phone accounts. If you are still concerned, take caution and call us. We can take action to stop this conduct after you file the case.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
Divorce is stressful and will take a toll on even the healthiest. To maintain your strength and emotional health during this difficult time: watch your diet, get enough sleep, exercise, and avoid using alcohol to excess. Keep perspective and if necessary, contact a clergyman or a therapist for counseling. And remember, this too shall pass. While you are feeling overwhelmed and uncertain, your life will get better. Things always look darkest right before the dawn. People not only survive divorce every day, they often thrive in their new life. And you can too!
Consider these tips if you expect a divorce in the near future:
AVOID NEW FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS.
This is not a good time for major purchases or new financial commitments. Limit new debt, keep your credit card balances low, and stay as liquid as possible. If you don’t
have individual credit, apply for a credit card, using your spouse’s income in the application.
DON’T QUIT YOUR JOB!
Sometimes people think they gain tactical advantage by quitting their job.
If your judge suspects financial gamesmanship it will backfire. Maintain the status quo with your employment unless there is good reason to change jobs.
GET A CHECKUP.
Now is a good time to determine if you have any potential health problems. If you depend on your spouse’s health insurance, get treatment while covered under your spouse’s plan.
KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN.
Investigate financial matters if you lack information about your family finances. If you can get copies of tax returns or other important documents, it will help us get started. Don’t worry if you can’t get the information; we will be able to get the records during the discovery process of the case.
USE A JOURNAL.
Write down important conversations or information as a reference for future use. This is particularly important if you expect custody disputes. Keep the journal in a safe place to avoid access by your spouse.
RUN A CREDIT REPORT ON YOURSELF.
Check your credit to make sure there are no surprise debts that you are unaware of.
DON’T RECORD CONVERSATIONS.
Recording conversations between you and your spouse is illegal.
Don’t do it!
STOP USING SOCIAL MEDIA.
Don’t post anything to Facebook, Twitter, Tik-Tok, Instagram or any other social media outlet; the posts may come back to haunt you. While it is illegal to delete information in anticipation of a divorce filing, you may and should deactivate your account.