Divorce laws vary by state, but you still have the same basic legal rights during divorce no matter which state you’re in. You have the right to live free of harassment, abuse, and intimidation and to use your local court system to file your case.
To protect your rights during a divorce, you need to follow your state’s divorce laws. This is less about what you can do and more about what you should never do. People often let their anger and need to get back at their spouse take over during a divorce, leading to an unnecessarily bad experience and outcome. When you’re in a divorce action,
Here are five things you should never do when you file for divorce:
Table of Contents
1. Damage Any Property
Never transfer damage, destroy, conceal, or otherwise get rid of property owned by you or your spouse without your spouse’s consent or an order from family court. While destroying property or concealing money could seem like a good idea at the time, a divorce attorney might discover what happened, and it will paint you in a bad light to the court.
2. Spend Your Spouse’s Money
Don’t use credit accounts, which are solely in your spouse’s name. You can handle financial divorce concerns, such as bill payment responsibility, by getting temporary orders from the court. If you’re worried about your spouse running up debt on joint accounts, you will need to file for protection in court.
Dividing up the marital debt is part of the divorce proceeding, so you don’t want to do anything that will complicate this process or result in you paying more at the end. Even if a credit card is just in your spouse’s name, the court can still hold you responsible for the debt on it.
3. Move or Hide the Children
Once you file for divorce, the state you filed in becomes your children’s “home state” and has jurisdiction over where they live. If you move outside this jurisdiction without court permission, you could jeopardize your chances at custody.
Hiding your children from your spouse is another surefire way to lose custody rights. You must allow your spouse to see the kids. Once you have a court order regarding custody and visitation, follow that.
4. Harass Your Spouse
You should seek a restraining order if your spouse has become violent. Police officers can do more on a domestic violence call when there is a restraining order in place.
On the flip side, if you’re very angry and can’t control your emotions, you will set yourself up for problems in court if you threaten to harm your spouse or another person. Sending harassing texts and emails will paint you in a very negative light.
5. Ignore Court Orders
Temporary court orders can help ease your worries about your legal rights during your divorce. While you have inherent legal rights in place from the start of the case, temporary orders offer you additional protection.
If you have any temporary court orders in place for your divorce, follow them. No one is above the law. Ignoring court orders or believing they don’t affect you is a great way to generate more problems in court.
Divorce can be a legal minefield to someone without any experience, so get a free consultation about your divorce situation to protect your rights every step of the way.