Going through a divorce is one of the most stressful experiences a person can endure. Even those who rarely show emotion may suddenly find themselves feeling dejected, angry, and ashamed as a result of their situation. During this period, tempers are often shorter than usual and the emotional tension felt between the divorcing spouses is at its highest point.
Given these circumstances, it’s tempting to lash out at others. It may also be tempting to set aside caution and make decisions that would, at any other time, give you pause. The problem is, such decisions can have adverse effects related to your divorce settlement. With that in mind, read on for several do’s and don’ts to follow as you seek a divorce from your spouse.
Divorce Do’s And Don’ts Involving Your Spouse
Let’s first discuss the things you should do – or continue doing – with regard to your soon-to-be-ex spouse while your divorce is underway. It is important that you keep the lines of communication open. If your husband or wife calls, answer the phone. If he or she wants to talk about issues related to the marital property, child custody, or specific assets, make yourself available. Doing so can help to resolve small problems that might otherwise escalate into major issues later.
It’s also important that you keep your spouse informed about the details of how you spend time with your children. Tell him or her where you’ll be and when you plan to drop them off. If you keep your spouse in the dark, he or she might suspect you’re planning to take them away.
If you’re tempted to hide any assets that should be included in the divorce settlement, resist the temptation. Disclose everything. Otherwise, your spouse’s attorney might later discover the hidden property and convince a judge to nullify your settlement agreement.
How To Interact With Your Children
The manner in which your relate to your kids while your divorce is in progress may affect not only how they adjust to the outcome, but also the details regarding their custody. First, discuss how they feel about the divorce. Encourage them to share their feelings and concerns. Commit yourself to avoiding anger, and instead, focus on maintaining open communication.
Second, while spending time with your children, try to set aside the stress and fear you have about the divorce. Devote yourself to improving the connection you share with your kids.
Third, if temporary custody arrangements have been established, stick to them. If you ignore them, the judge may take your seeming disregard of the law into account when making a decision about your final settlement agreement.
Fourth, don’t ask, or even encourage, your children to choose your side over your husband or wife. Doing so can create emotional problems that might last for years. Your kids may even come to resent you for making them choose when they grow older.
Regarding Your Own Actions And Behaviors
Your goal throughout the divorce process should be to negotiate a fair settlement without the need for a bitter and expensive trial. The best way to achieve that goal is to cooperate with everyone involved. For example, if your husband or wife would like to reach a compromise on a specific issue, be open to hearing his or her suggestions. If your spouse’s attorney requests additional documents, provide them. By being willing to help, you may be able to reach a fair settlement more quickly.
It’s a good idea to avoid making major changes in your life while going through a divorce. For example, don’t move to another city or state. Don’t quit your job, even if you have another job lined up. And take steps to avoid getting another person pregnant, or becoming pregnant yourself. The divorce process is already complicated. New circumstances will only further complicate the settlement negotiations. Not only will the process take longer, but it will also increase the cost.
It’s natural to feel anger and resentment toward your soon-to-be-ex spouse when seeking a divorce. It’s also natural to feel a mixture of fear and stress due to the uncertainty of the outcome. But the calmer you remain, the better decisions you’ll make. And that can mean the difference between obtaining a fair settlement and being left with little more than regret.