Divorce is almost never a clean business, no matter how well it ends up going in the end. Tensions are always running high, and the couple filing for said divorce will inevitably make some kind of rash decision in a fit of passion. If you live in San Diego, and you’re seeking a divorce lawyer to help divorce from your significant other, these are the ten things that lawyer will tell you to either avoid or do differently.
#1. Don’t become pregnant
One complication you don’t want to deal with is getting pregnant. If you become pregnant shortly before or during the divorce proceedings, the judge overseeing it may refuse to allow you to divorce your husband, regardless of what he’s done to you to drive you to divorce him, or whether he’s even the father of the child. While single parents have been granted the same rights as married ones in several states, it’s just best that you don’t roll the dice on this one, as it can still over-complicate matters.
#2. Change your will as soon as you can
Just because you’ve divorced your spouse does not remove them from your will. Once the divorce has gone underway, have your will changed. Don’t worry, you can update your will whenever you want, but even if you die before the divorce is settled, and leave your spouse nothing, they can still sue and claim part of your estate. Update your will and make sure that they would get nothing from you.
#3. Don’t refuse collaborative divorce/mediation
Divorce is more than just telling your spouse that they’re no longer welcome in your house, it’s also about dividing up land, property, custody etc. As such, a collaborative divorce is when you bring in experts: attorneys, therapists, and divorce coaches, to help determine who gets what. Meanwhile, mediation refers to bringing in just one expert: a mediator to help with negotiations with your spouse so you can both reach an agreement. Third parties like these are essential to make sure both parties get a fair deal, so do not refuse their help when it’s offered.
#4. Don’t romance your lawyer
It’s easy to see your divorce attorney as the only one on your side in these kinds of heated, emotional situations. But whatever you do, don’t sleep with your attorney or pursue any kind of personal relationship, at least until after the divorce has been completely settled. Doing so will kneecap your chances of winning the case, as you may be charged with adultery for the infidelity.
#5. Don’t yell at your kids
However much emotional and mental stress the divorce is putting on you, it doesn’t compare to what your children are going through; staring in the face the prospect of their parents splitting up and being forced to pick between them. You shouldn’t take out your stress on them, instead try to reassure them that everything will be alright. Try not to talk about the divorce while they’re in the room, and make more time to be there for them, whether that be taking them to the movies or just helping them with their homework. Your children need reassurance, now more than ever, that their parents still love them.
#6. Don’t brush off therapy
You will need therapy after or during this debacle, guaranteed. When filing for divorce, a therapist can help you sort through the myriad of intense emotional stress you’re under, figure out how to talk to your children about this, or how to handle any future stress yourself. Bottling up your emotions at a time like this can only come back to bite you later.
#7. Don’t put it off for the holidays
It’s easier to get used to an empty house before the holidays than during, so it’s best to get it over with as soon as possible, even if it means holding the divorce over the holidays. If things have gotten to the point where you want to divorce your spouse, dealing with them during the stressful holiday season will just make it worse.
#8. Don’t take the house if you can’t afford the taxes
Typically, the one who wins custody of the children gets the house as well, but this isn’t always the best idea. When your spouse leaves, so does his income, which is going to seriously hurt your financial situation. So if your house was paid for by a combination of you and your former spouse’s incomes, it’s probably best to ask for the investment portfolio of equal value.
#9. Don’t settle the case too early
There are a lot of things you need to take care of before you’re officially divorced, none of which will be fun to deal with once it’s done. You need to make copies of every single financial document you have, so you know what you own and what you owe. You’ll then need to make sure you and your children will still have health insurance after the divorce. If you and your spouse both agree that a divorce is the best course of action for everyone, you both can handle this and then file an “uncontested” divorce, skipping a large majority of the process altogether.
#10. Don’t add to your debt
You’re going to have enough debt to worry about once this is all over, between paying for your divorce lawyer and everything else. For the foreseeable future after the divorce, you’ll need to get used to not having nearly as much as you used to. Cut back on spending and just focus on paying off the debt you have now, and it’ll work out much better in the long term.
Unless you manage to land an uncontested divorce, you’re going to need a divorce attorney to help you through this emotionally complicated court proceeding. You should not have to handle this kind of weight alone when there are trained professionals ready and willing to help. Contact your nearest divorce attorney and speak with them about how to best proceed.