Here are 10 things that will hurt your family law case:
- Talking bad about your spouse to your kids. This is a big NO! Not only is it bad for your kids, but it’s a factor that the judge will take into consideration when determining custody. It will hurt you and the kids, not your spouse, in the long-run.
- Posting about your divorce on social media. Think before you post. Your divorce should not be on public display. Whatever you say or post on social media can be used against you in your divorce proceedings. Even if your account is set to private, there are ways to get access to your profile and see things you post. Also, be mindful of the photos you post. You don’t want pictures floating around the internet of you out doing shots of tequila at 2am. It doesn’t look good when you’re in a custody dispute.
- Harassing your spouse with phone calls and texts. Limit the conversations with your spouse to things that must be discussed, such as issues concerning the children.Text messages, phone records, and emails may be admissible in court.Don’t ever send threatening texts or emails. You do not want the judge to think you’re crazy.You also do not want to end up on the receiving end of a restraining order.
- Transferring or depleting marital assets. The court will issue a “status quo” order when the divorce gets filed. Under this order, neither party is permitted to dispose of assets while the divorce is pending. If you do, opposing counsel will find out. Any half decent lawyer can trace assets by reviewing financial disclosures and other available information. Opposing counsel will file a temporary injunction with the court and you will lose credibility with the judge. You can also be found in contempt of court.
- Cancelling your spouse’s insurance. If you are the party who has paid for insurance for your spouse and children during the marriage, you need to continue to do so while the divorce is ongoing. This issue is also addressed in the court’s “status quo” order. Not complying with this provision will make you look bad in front of the judge and could also subject you to contempt allegations.
- Not paying child support. You need to pay child support to your spouse as soon as you separate and start living in separate households. If you don’t, the court can slap you with back child support (arrears) from the date of separation until the date the final child support order is entered. So it’s best to pay whatever you can while the divorce is pending. Make sure you pay with a check or money order so you have proof of the payments. The court will award you a credit, if requested and proved, towards any arrears. You do not want the judge to think you’re a deadbeat.
Not following your lawyer’s recommendations. You hired a lawyer for a reason. It’s pointless if you don’t follow your lawyer’s recommendations. If you don’t trust your lawyer, then you need to find a new one. Immediately.
- Not disclosing “bad facts” to your lawyer. There is nothing worse as a lawyer than to have opposing counsel bring up incidents, such as a criminal activity or drug abuse, during a deposition or a hearing that were never disclosed by the client. Your lawyer needs to know the bad facts of your case to prepare and do damage control.
- Taking “legal advice” from your friends and family. Discussing your case with your friends might be tempting, especially if that someone has been through a divorce. But no family law case is the same as another and you should not compare outcomes. You also need to be careful when discussing details of your divorce case with family and friends as they may become a witness in your case. There is no privilege that applies to your conversations with friends and family. So, whatever you tell them, might come back to hurt you in the end.
Lying about anything under oath. Opposing counsel will file a motion to dismiss your claims or defenses for fraud on the court. If you provide false testimony of any kind that your lawyer knows is false, she must immediately withdraw from the case. Even though the lawyer cannot tell the court the specifics of why she is withdrawing because of the attorney-client privilege, the judge can read between the lines and will know the witness has been dishonest. Lying under oath can also subject you to criminal contempt charges.
If you need help with your divorce case, please call us to set up a consultation: (850) 432-2856.