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Divorce Do’s and Dont’s

Helpful guidelines for going through Divorce

Divorce Do's and Dont's

This is an extremely turbulent and emotional time. As such you may find yourself thinking and doing things that you would not normally do. The most devoted of parents have been known to put their children in the middle. Often times you will hear somebody say, “I just don’t know this person anymore” about somebody in the process of a divorce. They are right. Most people do go through some sort of metamorphosis during their divorce. We tend to be much more emotional and rash in our decision making. It’s part of the process that we must watch very carefully. Try to always think before you act. What will be the effect of today’s action tomorrow? This is especially true if you have children.

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This is a list of things that under normal circumstances most people would never do. This list was developed based on personal experiences, having had these things done to us, or as much as we may hate to admit it, having done some of these ourselves. If you can follow these guidelines you will find that you behaved in a mature rational way. Not only can you be proud but you will find that more things will be better in the long run. Easier said than done but give it your best try. The list is not exhaustive, but it is a start.

  • DON’T put your children in the middle of your divorce or breakup. The divorce is between you and your spouse. The children are innocent victims.
  • DO show them the love and attention they deserve. Make sure that they know they are not the reason for the divorce.
  • DON’T stop the children from seeing your (ex)spouse during their scheduled visitation time because he/she owes you money.
  • DO try to resolve the matter with your (ex)spouse. If the two of you can’t resolve the problem then contact your attorney to find out what legal actions you can take.
  • DON’T put your spouse down in front of the children.
  • DO show respect towards your spouse in front of the children. If you can’t do that then do not say anything at all. It will only come back to haunt you as well as send the wrong message to the children.
  • DON’T use your children as a negotiating ploy during the settlement process.
  • DO be honest and upfront. Judges know when the children are being used and do not look highly upon such tactics.
  • DON’T spend $1,000 on attorney fees fighting over a $150 piece of furniture.
  • DO use good business sense when deciding what to fight for and at what cost should you fight for it.
  • DON’T get greedy. It doesn’t matter if you wanted the divorce or your spouse did. Just because you’re hurt and your emotions are running high does not mean that you are entitled to more than the law allows. This attitude will cost you unnecessary attorney fees and the judicial system doesn’t care about your personal feelings.
  • DO be reasonable and flexible. Find out from your attorney what you are entitled to by state law regarding entitled to by state law regarding equitable distribution, alimony and child support.
  • DON’T use your children as a therapist. They are not equipped to handle the emotional strain being placed on them.
  • DO get professional help if you need it to cope with your divorce.
  • DON’T represent yourself. Not only will your inexperience backfire potentially creating devastating and long-term effects, you may come off as selfish and self-serving without intending to do so. Besides, judges generally prefer when attorneys are involved. Even experienced attorneys that are getting divorced use attorneys.
  • DO use an experienced matrimonial attorney. Although you may feel like you will save money, it will cost you more in the long run by not having the proper representation and someone with experience and knowledge of the law looking out for your best interest.
  • DON’T let your friends tell you what to do. Though they mean well they are not experienced in the coming and goings of a matrimonial courtroom. No two cases are exactly alike, so take advice from someone who is experienced.
  • DO listen to your attorney. He/She knows more than your friends.
  • DON’T depend upon your memory.
  • DO document everything that you might think will be important later on. Also, keep a journal of important dates and events.
  • DON’T pay you child support late.
  • DO pay it on time. Not only will you avoid legal ramifications, you are also supporting your children. The money goes towards the rent/mortgage, food, clothes, utilities and other necessities.
  • DON’T call your visitation with your children “Your time” and base things around your schedule.
  • DO remember that the children have a social life too. They have soccer, birthday parties and friends. It is important that their social life be as normal as possible. They are not the ones who are divorcing, you are. So let them maintain a normal social calendar.
  • DON’T pick up your children for visitation if have been drinking or have been doing drugs.
  • DO arrange with your (ex)spouse for another time that you can spend with the children.
  • DON’T let the children guess when they are supposed to be with you.
  • DO keep a calendar for the children as to the regular visitation and special visitation such as holidays and vacations.
  • DON’T make your children feel like a “guest” in your new home.
  • DO make the children feel that your new home is also their home. That should include whatever chores they were responsible for at your prior home they should also be responsible for at your new home.
  • DON’T let the children play one parent against the other.
  • DO talk to your (ex)spouse when you feel this happening and make sure that the two of you are on the same page.
  • DON’T question the children regarding the activities of your (ex)spouse.
  • DO keep the children out of the line of fire between you and your (ex)spouse.
  • DON’T use the children as messengers. This puts them right in the middle. Not only are you risking their love and affection you are also relying upon the child to get the message to your spouse correctly end in the manner you meant it.
  • DO speak directly to your (ex)spouse. This way there is no miscommunication or confusion. If there is a restraining order in place that forbids contact then ask your attorney on how you should proceed.
  • DON’T make promises to the children that you cannot keep, especially extravagant ones.
  • DO make sure your promises are realistic, appropriate and that you are capable of carrying out the promise.
  • DON’T rehash the things that have happened in the past, you can’t change what has already happened.
  • DO learn from those things, fix what you can and then let them go.

With over 35 years of experience, The Johnson Law Firm is well-versed in the law and the language and mannerisms of the court room. We can help you resolve your matter as quickly as possible while at the same time trying to minimize your legal expenses.

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Family Law

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  • Divorce
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