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Divorce Do's and Don'ts

Divorce can be a chaotic 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?

Here are a few 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 also you will find that things will be better in the long run. Easier said than done but give it your best try.

The "Legal" Do's for Divorce

  • Do use an experienced matrimonial attorney who will have the needed experience and knowledge of the law to make sure that your interests are protected
  • Do be honest and up front. Tell your attorney everything and fully make known all your assets and property
  • Do be practical and flexible. Finding the middle ground often results in a quicker and easier conclusion in divorce cases.
  • Do document everything that you might think will be important later on. Also keep a journal of important dates and events.
  • Do use good business sense when deciding what to fight for and at what cost should you fight for it.

The "Legal" Don'ts for Divorce

  • Don't represent yourself. Even experienced attorneys that are getting divorced use an attorney.
  • Don't get greedy. It doesn't matter if it was you or your spouse that initially wanted the divorce. 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.
  • Don't let your friends tell you what to do. Though they may have good intentions listen to your attorney. They know the law.
  • Don't pay your support late.
  • Don't pick up your children for visitation if have been drinking or have taken drugs.
  • Don't spend thousands of dollars in attorney fees fighting over a $150 piece of furniture

Below are some other do's and don'ts that seem like common sense but often during a divorce common sense goes out the window.

The Emotional Don'ts for Divorce

  • Don't discuss the details of the divorce with your children. They are not equipped to handle the emotional strain being placed on them.
  • Don't make promises to the children that you cannot keep especially extravagant ones.
  • Don't make your children feel like a "guest" in your new home.
  • Don't put your children in the middle of your divorce. The divorce is between you and your spouse.
  • Don't put your spouse down in front of the children.
  • Don't question the children regarding the activities of your (ex) spouse.
  • Don't refer to your visitation with your children "Your time" and base things around your schedule.
  • Don't rehash the things that have happened in the past, you can't change what has already ready happened
  • 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 and in the manner you meant it.
  • Don't use your children as a bargaining chip during the settlement process.
  • Don't stop the children from seeing the other parent because he or she owes you money.

The Emotional Do's for Divorce

  • Do get professional help if you need it to cope with your divorce.
  • 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.
  • Do remember that the children have a social life. 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.
  • Do show respect towards your spouse in front of the children.
  • Do make sure that the children know they are not the reason for the divorce.

Additional Divorce Resources and Information:

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