What Should You Avoid Doing if You’re in the Middle of a Divorce?
For most divorcing couples, property division is one of the most important and high-stakes parts of the process. In Georgia, divorcing spouses must divide their marital assets equitably. Each party must get a fair share of the marital property, but the two of them are not required to divide them exactly 50-50. Of course, you cannot split up assets that have been spent before your divorce is final.
What is Marital Wasting?
Marital wasting is the attempt by one spouse in a divorce to reduce the marital asset pot, often to “punish” their ex.
An unscrupulous spouse can accomplish this in several ways:
- Purposely stopping mortgage and/or auto loan payments to cause the lender to foreclose on the house or repossess the vehicle.
- Giving away assets to their relatives and friends.
- Spending money on an affair partner
- Buying expensive vacations, concerts or sports tickets
- Gambling away the funds
Both of you are entitled to pay for normal living expenses while your divorce is pending, like housing, food and the children’s school costs. But marital waste, also known as dissipation of assets, is not allowed under Georgia divorce law. If you believe your spouse is dissipating assets, you can file a complaint with the divorce court. To prove your case, you must present evidence that your spouse has deliberately spent or squandered marital assets to deprive you of your share. If the judge is convinced, they could award you a greater share of the remaining marital property.
Proving marital waste can be challenging because the evidence can be very subtle. An experienced divorce attorney will know the signs of dissipation and how to make a strong case in court.
Don’t Hide Assets
You might feel tempted to hide assets and finances from your soon-to-be ex but this is a grave mistake. These assets may be found in discovery, a regular part of the divorce process. If the judge and the court finds that you’ve been purposefully deceiving everyone out of a sense of greed or selfish justice, they will not take kindly to you or give you the same respect you might’ve otherwise earned from them.
Don’t Immediately Announce That You’re Going Through a Divorce
A divorce, like a marriage, is likely to be one of the most important stories of your life. But try to restrain yourself from announcing the news too soon. Not only does there exist the chance that you and your spouse could patch things up and reconcile, but you don’t want to appear as though you are airing your dirty laundry to the world or wanting to be the topic of water cooler discussion.
Don’t Take Legal Advice from Family and Friends – That’s What a Divorce Lawyer is For
Our friends and family look out for us and want to provide kindness and support when we’re going through a difficult time. Chances are, we know someone who has gone through a divorce before. And it may be tempting to listen to their advice.
While the previously divorced may have nuggets of wisdom to pass down to you, they went through a very different marriage and divorce from the one you’re experiencing now. No two divorce cases are exactly alike and no advice from one divorce will be universal to all.
Consult with an experienced divorce attorney to speak about your specific needs.
Don’t Give Up on Mediation or Collaboration Too Soon
If a divorce starts ugly, it may feel like that’s how it’s always going to be. But don’t give up on the notion of working things out through calm discussion overseen by an unbiased third party. Many divorce lawyers offer legal services as a mediator for divorcing spouses. In mediation, you may find solutions easier to come by instead of always staying in argumentative fight mode.
Don’t Bring the Fights to Social Media
Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms have changed the way we live our daily lives. What used to unfold privately in our homes or in our close circle of friends now has a tendency to spill over onto the internet for all to see. We now have old high school friends and complete random strangers weighing in on our important milestones. We don’t want to welcome them to discussions about our divorce. And, an even worse thought, we don’t want to take the bitterness and anger to social media so that everyone can judge us. The courts can judge us, too. Remember that.
Don’t Alienate Your Spouse from Your Children or Attempt to Poison the Kids Against Them
In divorce cases, the courts always seek to do what’s best for any children involved. And while it may be tempting to tell your children all the ugly parts about their other parent which they do not know, try to hold back. This is ugly behavior that the courts will frown upon.
Don’t Start a New Relationship, if You Can Help It
Sometimes, this can’t be helped. Divorces might happen because we fall in love with another person. But if that’s not the case, try to restrain yourself from beginning a new relationship until the ink is dry on the divorce papers.
Don’t Forget to Update Your Last Will and Testament
If you do not amend your will after a divorce, things could become confusing when settling your estate. Speak with a lawyer about updating your estate plan.
Don’t Proceed without Legal Representation
It may be tempting to save money and go without a lawyer, but you will not get the benefit of a better settlement. Experienced family law professionals can help.
Contact our law firm to schedule a free consultation with our experienced legal team. 404-418-7777.