Although divorce laws in the United States are governed almost exclusively by the laws of the state and county the divorcing couple resides in, there are other legal issues and rights surrounding most divorces that are common to all regardless of jurisdiction. It is up to each individual spouse in a divorce case to make sure they follow the rules of the court as well as their own common sense to insure their divorce is completed legally without unnecessary complications. Here are some common divorce guidelines to help make sure your own divorce is legal and fair for all parties involved:
- Don’t say anything on the telephone or leave messages on answering machines that contain information you do not want presented in divorce court later. It is safer to assume everything you say is being recorded, than to be caught be surprise. It is legal to record direct conversations (not third party) for use as divorce court evidence in most states.
- Get a temporary court order if you feel your rights are being compromised during the divorce proceedings. A temporary court order can protect your legal rights and finances as the case is unfolding.
- Don’t spend more money than is necessary from joint bank or credit accounts. Don’t spend any money at all from accounts in a spouse’s name alone. If your spouse attempts to incur unreasonable debts during the divorce process you can seek a temporary court order to halt them.
- Don’t transfer, trade, conceal or destroy any marital or separate property prior to completion of the divorce without the permission of the court.
- Document all personal and marital property prior to the divorce with a still or video camera. Photographic evidence of property is accurate and indisputable in most cases.
- Do not try to talk (or send letters) to the judge in a divorce case on your own outside of scheduled hearings in court. It is illegal is most states.
- Do not try to talk to your spouse’s attorney after you have retained counsel of your own. It is illegal in most states.
- Do not display high emotions or anger in the presence of your spouse or children prior to completion of your divorce. A display of anger could earn you abuse allegations that can be difficult to disprove later.
- Do not make threats of any kind to your spouse during the divorce. If your spouse makes threats ask for a Restraining Order from the court.
The issues of caring for and supporting dependant children in a divorce proceeding can make things far more complex. Avoid involving your children in your divorce case as best as you can. In the court’s view, anything that harms the children can also harm your own side of the case. If you must make your children available for visitation, comply with the orders. Do not relocate your children during a divorce without approval from the court. Here are a few tips on how to keep your divorce legal when children are present in the home:
- Don’t lie to your children about the divorce. They will eventually see the truth and not trust you with it.
- Don’t make the children take sides with one parent.
- Don’t ask the children to choose one parent over the other.
- Don’t blame or criticize your spouse in front of the kids.
- Do tell the children the divorce is not their fault.
- Do not use the children as messengers to relay your thoughts and concerns to your spouse.
- Do listen to your kids and get them outside counseling help when it is needed.
- Don’t ask your children to evaluate your spouse’s actions or behaviors.
- Do tell your children they are still loved by both parents.
- Don’t make plans involving the children without consulting your spouse first.
- Do be as flexible as you can with your time and schedule when your children are involved.