What to do if you are anticipating a messy divorce?
There’s a lot on the line in most divorce cases. Children; property; money; sanity. Unfortunately, many divorces are contentious, bitter, and can bring out the worst in people. So, what should you do if you anticipate things getting ugly once you file for divorce? The short answer is to prepare for the worst.
What many attorneys fail to tell their clients is that every angry text message, every snarky facebook post, and even things said out-loud in anger may come back to haunt him/her in court. In every contentious divorce case our firm has ever handled, one side or the other has printed out text messages, facebook posts, played audio recordings, and sometimes even showed video of the other party flying off the handle.
One area in which bad behavior becomes more relevant is in divorces where parents are fighting over the children. Many cases are won and lost by the parties’ behavior towards one another. Domestic violence is the easy example. If your spouse ever becomes physical with you, you should call the police immediately. Not only will that protect you in that particular moment, but it will also make a record that you will later need in a divorce proceeding when you begin to sort out custody of the children. Other not-so-obvious things a person can do to support their case in a contentious divorce is to stop posting negative comments on social media, stop sending text messages or emails that you would not want to have read in open court, and to comport yourself as if somebody was watching you at all times (for example, a judge). You never know when your spouse may be recording something on their phone.
The flip side of that equation is that you should make it a habit to print out every negative email, text message, and social media comment that your spouse makes regarding you or the children. I cannot overstate how many times I have seen people shoot themselves in the foot during a divorce by posting nasty comments on social media. The more of a record you can make in preparation for divorce the better off you will be.
The easier route to get through a divorce is to try and remain civil, especially if there are children in the household. If you and your soon-to-be ex can somehow manage to put the hard feelings aside, you will end up saving a lot of money in legal fees, and, a lot of very uncomfortable appearances in front of a judge. However, sometimes things are easier said than done. If you are looking at a messy divorce on the horizon, give us a call. We would be happy to sit down and give you an honest evaluation of your case and to tell you what you should expect from the process.