Whoever said “there is a fine line between love and hate” was on to something. Frequently, two people who were madly in love, somewhere stumbled and are now getting a divorce. As you may have already figured out, those loving days are gone, and not only are they gone, but that love has been replaced, in most cases, with resentment towards the other person. So, what do you do when you are going through a divorce? What shouldn’t you do? How do I act? How should I treat the other person? These are all valid questions. In this blog, we try to answer them by providing five things to do (and don’t do) during your pending divorce.
Civility. The first thing to remember is to act civil towards the other person. This may seem cheesy to say, but at times it can be extremely hard in practice. Time and time again individuals let emotions take control in these types of situations. And time and again, those individuals who let emotions take control end up regretting it, and sometimes results in negative consequences (whether that be less parenting time or a smaller share of the marital pot). Lastly, acting civil towards the other person will help you move on and let go of those ill feelings, creating a healthier situation for you in the long run.
Be Honest with Your Attorney. This may seem like simple advice, but we have individuals who come in all the time and “accidentally” forget to tell us a crucial part of the story. Being honest with your attorney is crucial to good representation. There is nothing worse for the client, or the attorney when the attorney is blind-sided at court because the client omitted important facts. Also, remember, your attorney is on your side. Telling your attorney the truth, and the whole truth, will only help him or her prepare you for trial. Don’t worry about being embarrassed or shy to tell your attorney any information. Chances are, the attorney has heard worse.
Refrain from Posting to Social Media. In our digital society, people love posting things to Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. While its fine to post about your day or a fun vacation, remember that social media is public and anything you say can be accessed by the public. If you are going through a divorce, your former significant other is likely keeping tabs on all your social media platforms. Individuals regularly post information on Facebook or Twitter pertaining to their divorce, and those posts tend to find their way into the courtroom in some negative context. The best practice is to avoid social media posts during divorce.
Courtroom Decorum. When you are in a Courtroom, you always need to be on your best behavior. Whether you think so or not, the Court is observing your demeanor, observing your facial expressions, your sighs, and your under-the-breath comments. A divorce is an extremely hard thing to go through. Emotions are ripe. It may feel like there is personal attack after personal attack. But remember, it is only temporary and holding your emotions in check can prevent many negative effects bad courtroom decorum may result in. Plus, showing little emotion is always a great way to respond to your soon-to-be ex to avoid the drama-trauma cycle after divorce if you have children.
Be a Grownup When it Comes to Your Children. Now, this last suggestion is pertaining only to those individuals going through a divorce that also have children. Many times, during the pendency of a divorce, parenting time is not yet established because there hadn’t been a need for parenting time until now. Nor are certain “activities” for the child put in place, as again, there hadn’t been a need for such until now. Parents going through a divorce often use their children as a way to hurt the other person, not even being aware they are doing it. Some parents do this all the time, whether it be a refusal to let the other parent see the child, take the child to a game, or see them on a holiday. The best practice is to grow up. You had a child with someone you no longer want to be with, this happens all the time, but it is not the child’s fault. Rather than trying to “stick it to the other person,” be kind, allow the other parent to be a part of the child’s life during the pendency of the divorce. This will go a long way with the Court and for a well-developed child in life.
We hope that these tips are helpful if you find yourself in the position of being in a divorce. They may seem basic but are toxic and violated all of the time in divorce and paternity proceedings. We understand that it is a hard and emotional time. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who handle divorces (and paternity cases) of all types throughout the state. It is written and posted for general educational purposes and is not to be construed as legal advice or solicitation for services. It is an advertisement.