10 Things to Not Do During Divorce
Top Things to Not Do During Divorce
A divorce can test your ability to appropriately cope with stress and maintain self-control. This article gives tips, ideas, and advice to get through your divorce without making common personal mistakes.
Divorce Tips – Avoiding Common Mistakes
There’s a wisdom to be gained by learning from the experiences of other people. In this case, we’re offering advice and tips about not making errors in your personal conduct during a divorce. These tips can keep you from making regretful and embarrassing mistakes, or worse.
When you found yourself involved in a divorce you entered a very challenging time in our life. It’s a near certainty that you will be (or are) dealing with a tormenting assortment of emotions. It’s common to feel disrespected, abandoned, slighted, cheated, worried and more. All of this can have you feeling anxious, restless, spiteful and retaliatory. This constant mental and emotional pressure could soon take a toll on your judgment. In your weakest moments you may be tempted to "get back at" your estranged spouse. If you feel like you are losing self-control take a moment to refocus your emotions. A moment of composing yourself can keep you from saying or doing things that can hurt you, your children, and your working relationship with your soon-to-be ex-spouse.
Sometimes you feel a need to vent but lashing out at your ex is not a good idea. Taken to some extremes, your actions could affect your child visitation or custody, tarnish your personal reputation, or become a cause for you to be arrested. Do not throw your life into disarray due to a soon-to-pass life circumstance. Maintain self-control and apply the 10 things to never do during a contentious divorce. Protect your reputation, your freedom, and your relationship with other people – especially your children.
What to Not Do During or After Divorce
1) Do Not Threaten or Assault Your Ex
This seems obvious but many people cross this line. When the former love of your life is walking away or "ruining your life", the rush of emotions can take control and drive you to irrational behavior. While you might think that words are just words, some language can land you in jail. There is a very fine line between venting and raging, and an even thinner line separating where your language becomes threatening.
If you commit domestic violence you will almost certainly be arrested, and suffer substantial problems from the moment when you lacked self-control. Throughout your divorce, keep in mind that your words and actions matter. If you believe you have been threatened you may need to get a temporary protective order.
2) Do Not Engage in Questionable or Illegal Activities
Some people think their questionable or illegal actions are justified or necessary. For example, might have the personal property you do not want your spouse to have or control during your divorce. You might also think there’s no harm to"hide or liquidate what is really yours". Do not do it. Taking actions to hide or liquidate personal property, real property and other types of marital assets will cause you problems in your divorce process. Like it or not, marital assets are subject to division.
Additionally, some people make false assertions of child molestation or abuse to affect child custody decisions. Do not make false allegations or file false charges about your ex. When the truth comes to light, you will bring trouble upon yourself and cause unnecessary stress on your children.
3) Do Not Stalk Your Spouse
You might have trouble letting go. You may feel a jealous or an obsessive curiosity about your ex’s whereabouts or company. Avoid going to their home without permission, or visiting places they frequent just to keep tabs on them or disrupt their life. Don’t contact their family, friends or co-workers to plead your reconciliation case. These types of actions, regardless of your intent, can be construed as stalking. Stalking is an unacceptable activity that can land you in jail1, jeopardize your child custody case, and tarnish your reputation in your community. Take the high road now and do not harass your spouse.
4) Do Not Wander in Verbal or Written Information
Co-parenting during and after a divorce requires communicating with your ex. You need to discuss doctor’s appointments, child visitation arrangements, parent/teacher conferences, and similar matters. When you communicate, stay on point, provide accurate information and be reasonably brief. You owe your ex the basic information he or she needs to continue to be an active, informed and involved parent.
5) Do Not Criticize Your Spouse in Front of Your Children
Your relationship with your ex is not the same as your child has with your ex – respect the importance of that relationship. Do not let any negative feeling feelings allow you to criticize your spouse in front of your children. Saying bad things about your ex to your children does not help you, and can hurt them psychologically2. It’s good for your children’s mental health to speak well of their other parent and be supportive of their relationship with him or her.
6) Do Not Destroy or Dispose of Your Spouse’s Property
Your spouse might have left some of his or her personal belongings behind when he or she left the family home. Feeling anger or resentment some people destroy or dispose of their spouse’s property. Destroying your spouse’s personal property makes you look like an out-of-control person. It may be forbidden in any temporary orders issued by the court. Destroying your spouse’s family heirlooms ultimately takes away the opportunity for your children to inherit what is rightfully theirs. Ideally, you can set these items aside, and take proper care of them.
7) Do Not Seek Arguments with Your Spouse
During a divorce, or immediately thereafter, even simple conversations can develop into arguments. Certainly, there are reasons to call your spouse – to discuss your children, ongoing financial situations, etc. Keep each conversation cordial, short and to the point. Your communications with your spouse should be a bit business-like. Avoid temptations to contact your spouse to vent your anger, fight or otherwise engage in negativity.
During your divorce, call your spouse only when it is truly necessary – not because you’re lonely, want to reminisce, or to "sort things out". Keep in mind that you are in the process of redefining your relationship and how you interact.
8) Don’t Display Bad Behavior or Develop Bad Habits
Once separated, the feeling of freedom may lead you to reckless behaviors. You might be quick to "act single" and feel that you are entitled to join the party-life. It’s a good idea to make a slow and measured transition from being married to being single. Maintaining stability in all areas of your life is always a smart thing to do.
9) Do Not Make Your Divorce Into a War
Stay as positive as possible. A divorce ends your marriage and gives you the opportunity to rebuild your life. Naturally, there are likely to be disagreements on aspects such as dividing property, child custody, and financial matters. Your divorce lawyer will litigate on your behalf to minimize emotional stress. Sorting through these details does not have to be a vicious power struggle.
Work to leave the marriage with your health dignity intact. Fighting prolongs the process and can harm your health 3. Your divorce will reset your life and allow you to renew your pursuit of happiness in life
10) Know That There is Life After Divorce and Your Life Will Go On
Stay positive. When you’re in a divorce it may be a challenge to imagine a calm future life. In time you will no longer feel hurt, angry or doubtful about the future. You will find surprising new ways to again fall in love with life. Throughout your divorce process, even when you feel like all is lost, remember that your divorce is only a temporary situation. In a relatively short time you will probably find that your divorce ultimately left you better off than you ever thought.
FOOTNOTES & CREDITS
- 1 FindLaw, "Georgia Stalking Laws", 2018, Available from Georgia Stalking Laws
- 2 Beyond Words, " Why Badmouthing the Other Parent Hurts Your Child ", February 24, 2013, Available from Beyond Words Psychological Serves
- 3 Jessica Migala, " The Powerful Ways Divorce Can Impact Your Health ", September 21, 2016, Available from Health.com