Smith Welch Webb & White Blog

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Feeling Unlucky? Top 13 Things NOT to Do When Getting a Divorce

Divorce is hard enough, you don't need to work against yourself. And sometimes it's hard to know how your own behavior will affect you in the long run.  

After years of valuable experience as a family law attorney helping Georgians get the best possible outcome from their divorces, I’ve found that key questions to ask yourself are: "If this comes up in court, 1) will it give the wrong impression?; 2) can it be used against me?; and 3) how would I feel if my spouse did this?"  These questions can help you avoid making mistakes that can negatively affect the outcome of your divorce. 

Here's my list of what NOT to do when getting a divorce:

1.Don't make a hasty exit (unless you are in an abusive situation). If you plan on leaving, take time to photocopy important financial records such as tax returns, bank statements and credit card statements. But if you are in danger, leave immediately.

2. And don't make hasty decisions. The choices you make now can affect you for the rest of your life. Don't race through the process just to get it over with.

3.Don't go on a spending spree. Indulging in some retail therapy may help you feel better in the short run, but don't forget that you'll need to save for the long term. The cost of maintaining two residences, health insurance and other expenses can add up quickly.

4.Don't create an online dating profile. It can be used against you. The vast majority of divorce cases now include evidence collected from social media and networking sites.

5.Don't talk about your ex or divorce proceedings on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media. Did I mention that most divorce cases cite evidence collected from social media? Badmouthing your ex or describing details of your case can work against you.

6. Don't post photos online of you partying, drinking, being too friendly with a member of the opposite sex, or doing anything that could be construed as inappropriate. Attorneys love this type of evidence that can potentially show the other party using poor judgment or in compromising situations.

7. Speaking of photos, don't post photos of a member of the opposite sex with your children unless you are related to them. Photos like this can send the wrong message that you are trying to replace their other parent or that you have already begun creating a new "family" with someone else.

8. Don't have people of the opposite sex spend the night when your kids are around. Child custody is determined by many factors, including whether you are a good influence on the children.

9. Don't get pregnant (or get someone else pregnant). Believe it or not - it happens! It really complicates things on many levels, and can work to your disadvantage. There will be time to expand your family after the divorce is complete (and you can legally marry again).

10. Don't forget to remove him/her from your documents. This includes your emergency contact information forms (for yourself, not your kids), beneficiary forms and your will. Your soon-to-be-former spouse is probably the last person you want to see in an emergency, and the last person you want to benefit from your will.

11. Don't represent yourself. Even experienced attorneys hire a divorce lawyer when going through a divorce. Emotions run high, and you need someone who specializes in family law. Additionally, there are parts of a divorce that cannot be modified later, so being represented by an attorney who knows your rights is always best.

12. Don't start dating if you can possibly help it. Being in a relationship during a divorce can really muddy the waters. You don't need input from someone brand new to the situation, and you don't want to make decisions based on someone who may or may not be a part of your future. It can also affect how your spouse reacts to settlement proposals, visitation with children, etc. If you need support, look to a family member or friend.

13. And finally, don't forget to stay positive. Divorce is hard, but you'll get through it. When you're feeling down, focus on what you're gaining instead of what you're losing.

For more information on family law, contact Elizabeth Pool here or call (770) 775-3188 to schedule an appointment. Smith, Welch, Webb and White is recognized as a premier law firm throughout the state of Georgia. Our team of experts routinely handles a wide range of legal matters, and will provide outstanding service for you, your family or your business.


Any representations regarding the law in this Blog is made available for educational purposes only as well as to give you general information and a general understanding of the law, not to provide specific legal advice. By using this blog site you understand that there is no attorney client relationship between you and the Blog publisher. The Blog should not be used as a substitute for competent legal advice from a licensed professional attorney in your state.

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