Many couples spend months, if not years, being in an unhappy marriage before they decide to file for divorce. During this time, it’s not uncommon to develop bad habits that may ultimately hurt you when it comes time for a lawyer to review every aspect of your life. Here are three things NOT to do in the time frame leading up to filing your divorce:
- Hide money – this is a big mistake. In Colorado, you are required to disclose all assets during a divorce. So, if you have a bank account with money that your spouse doesn’t know about, they will find out about it during the divorce, and it will more than likely be part of your property division. Even worse, if you decide to attempt to conceal the account during the divorce, you’ll risk losing the entirety of what you’re attempting to hide, in addition to sanctions and attorney fees. Understand that a good divorce attorney will review every financial transaction you’ve made in the past three years. Be truthful about your financial situation with your spouse, especially if money is a point of disagreement in your marriage. If it’s an argument during your marriage, you can bet it will be an argument during your divorce.
- Say things to the kids that you shouldn’t – it may be really difficult not to bad mouth your spouse in front of your children when you can see divorce on the horizon. But resist this urge at all costs. What you say to your children will likely be repeated, and possibly during a custody evaluation. Alternatively, if you are on the brink of a divorce, you may find yourself wanting to be the parent to break the news to your children. Although emotions may be high, attempt to do this jointly with your spouse. If you don’t, and custody becomes an issue in your divorce, taking an important step like that without talking to your spouse first will not reflect well on you.
- Stick around in a heated argument – we all know how ugly our arguments with our spouse can get, especially when we think divorce is imminent and there’s no reason to be nice anymore. But when things are at their worst, we tend to do and say things we would never do or say if emotions weren’t so high. What we may believe is a normal reaction to the situation, such as pounding a fist, or throwing an object, may get you a domestic violence charge and some time in jail. If you get in a heated argument, leave. Whether it’s for the evening, or just a few hours, leave the situation and deescalate things. The last thing you need is a criminal charge, protection order or restraining order to kick off your divorce.
Often times it’s too late to avoid the above issues, and either you or your spouse are already dealing with the consequences and repercussions. An experienced divorce attorney can assist you in navigating those issues. Contact me for a free consultation to discuss your case in detail.