The Divorce Process: Do’s and Don’ts
Divorce is often an ugly process. Coping with the emotions and trauma can be very difficult, but this is also a legal process where professionals like lawyers and a judge are often involved in splitting up assets and arranging for child custody. You do not want to be the one that causes unnecessary problems for those professionals. As such, you should keep in mind these “dos” and “don’ts.”
1. Do remain calm
That is not always easy, but it is very important. A divorce requires a judge to review a couple’s situation and issue a divorce decree. You do not want to have to explain to a judge why you lost your temper and caused problems in the settlement process.
2. Do figure out your finances
A divorcing spouse should make sure he or she knows the full financial picture of the marriage. Sometimes this is easy because the couple freely shared information during the marriage. Sometimes one spouse handles the finances and the other one has no idea what is going on. In a contested divorce, one spouse can use a procedure called discovery to seek information from the other spouse, but if you can secure that information without costly court procedures you are going to be better off.
3. Do keep good records
When you are separated and working on a divorce your finances are going to change. You may have to pay for movers and a new apartment, for example. These living expenses should generally be paid by both spouses equally. Good records are important to getting these costs accounted for, though. Submitting exact costs is your best bet to getting repaid.
Please Do Not!
1. Don’t get rid of any assets that belong to you and your spouse jointly
When one spouse is anticipating a divorce he or she may be tempted to start stashing assets so those assets to not get split at divorce. A husband might buy expensive jewelry for his new girlfriend, for example, or a wife may buy herself a fancy new car. If these expenses are unusual for the marriage, they can be deemed a fraudulent conveyance and subtracted from the divorce settlement. Such behavior also looks bad in the eyes of a judge and that can hurt your eventual settlement.
2. Don’t rush into a fight
Many people are understandably upset when they are beginning the divorce process. A hotly contested divorce can cost tens of thousands of dollars to complete, though, and most couples do not have that kind of money to fight over. Options like mediation can be much more cost-effective. Many couples can even work out an agreement covering property division and child care issues without involving a professional. These less-combative strategies are not for everyone, but everyone should consider them.
3. Don’t put the kids in the middle of it
First of all, it is simply not fair to use a child as a weapon in divorce. It can also be extremely harmful to you, though. For example, one parent will often get upset and try to get the children to blame the other parent. This can lead to kids refusing to go visit the other parent, even if that parent has joint custody. If at all avoidable, it is best to not have to explain to a judge why you are violating a custody agreement. Of course, if abuse is a concern all then precautions should be taken.
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