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Do's & Don'ts of Divorce

What You Should Not Do in a Divorce — and a Few Things You Should

Going through a divorce is usually a very emotional process. Sometimes, it’s easy to act based on your emotions rather than doing the more rational thing. Below you’ll find a list of actions you should not take during a divorce and some helpful tips for some you should.

Tips and Suggestions for Things You Should Not Do in a Divorce

Don’t Hide Money

It may be tempting to take cash out and put your money into a different bank account if you are going through a divorce and are insecure about your financial situation post-divorce—but it is not the best idea. Firstly, Texas is a community property state which means your assets during a marriage are also your spouse’s. Further, money transferred electronically may be traced with a forensic investigator. You should also know that if the court believes you are hiding money, they may award your spouse some of that money from other assets in order to reimburse the community for your bad acts.

It must be noted that moving money for normal day to day transactions are usually fine as long as your spouse and their attorney are provided proof that there was no dishonest motive in moving the money.

Don’t Sell Assets Without an Agreement

As stated earlier, Texas is a community property state. This means that if you need to sell an asset (whether it be stocks, a business, a vehicle, or something else), it is best to get your spouse’s agreement. Doing so will prevent issues later if your spouse does not believe you sold the asset for a fair price or if they wanted that asset in the final property division.

Don’t Buy a House (or Other Large Purchases)

If you are moving out of the marital residence and decide you might as well buy a house, be aware that now your spouse has claim to that home as well and will be on the deed to that home. 

In fact, any large purchase you make during the divorce might be awarded to your spouse or work against you in the property division. It is much smarter to wait to buy a new home  or other assets until after the divorce has been finalized.

Don’t Stop Paying Bills

You may find it difficult to continue to pay bills as is during the divorce. However, if you do not have an agreement otherwise, you should not stop paying any bills for the marital residence or any bills that affect your spouse or the children. Courts tend to consider cancellation of bills or services when dividing property. 

Don’t Get into Additional Debt

A divorce is the wrong time to incur additional amounts of debt unless there’s a very good reason. The debt may work against you when you and your spouse are trying to divide property. 

Don’t Abandon Your Children

If your spouse and you are not getting along but you want to remain in your children’s lives, you should not move out and stop seeing your children until you have some sort of agreement or order with the court for a possession schedule. 

If you are in a domestic abuse situation and may need to leave your children with your spouse, call an attorney immediately

Don’t Put Your Children in the Middle

Courts are very mindful of parents who put their children in the middle of their arguments with the other parent. When going through a divorce, try not to speak ill of your spouse to your children or about the divorce at all. Doing so may affect your custody battle during the divorce.

Don’t Lie to Your Attorney

When you speak to your attorney, it is all privileged information. Your attorney will need to know all the facts—good or bad—in order to represent you and protect you. If your attorney does not know something and the other side does, it may hurt your case and/or cause your attorney to decline representation of you any further.

Don’t Violate Court Orders

Once there are orders in place in your divorce case, please do not violate them. Read the orders and make sure you understand them. Violating court orders means your spouse can hold you in contempt of the court and you may be liable for attorney’s fees.

Don’t Miss a Court Date

If you were served with papers or know of a court date, you should make every effort to either attend or have an attorney attend. If you are not present at a hearing, your spouse may be able to get a default order against you.

Tips and Suggestions for Things You Should Do in a Divorce

Do Document Everything

Sometimes when you are in the throes of divorce, keeping a record of everything can seem difficult. However, a divorce is litigation and litigation can sometimes require proof and evidence. Make sure you are saving anything and everything that may be important for your divorce.

Do Familiarize Yourself with the Divorce Process

It is important that you know what the divorce process may look like. Our Resources tab has some excellent charts and documents that will help you get familiar with what your divorce process may look like.

Do Speak to Financial and Tax Experts

Even if you hire a family lawyer, you might need additional help if your estate requires complex financial and tax matters. Although your attorney might be an expert on family law, finding someone who specializes in the financial planning, tax impacts, and other matters will only be to your benefit.

Do Find a Good Attorney

Although it is possible to negotiate your divorce without an attorney, often times a divorce requires knowledge and guidance from an attorney who knows the legal process, the court system, and even how certain judges work. Further, divorce documents may also contain language and terms that require a legal background. It is also important to make sure you are signing something that is in your best interest. Finally, a good attorney can not only help you understand the process and make sure your rights are protected, but they can also deal with your spouse or spouse’s attorney for you.

If you are planning to divorce your spouse, looking for more information on your rights in a divorce, or you find out your spouse has started proceedings, you should talk to an attorney to discuss your legal options. Our compassionate and capable team at Hunt Law Firm is standing by at }.

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