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What Not to Do During a Divorce

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Divorce can be a difficult process, to be sure, no matter what the circumstances. But it's obviously best to not do things that make the divorce process even more difficult. We thought it would be helpful to run through a list of things you shouldn't do during a divorce. While some of them might just seem like common sense, they're worth review, in part, because we've been involved in divorce cases where these things happen, and know the complications they can cause.

Don't date

We sometimes represent clients who become involved in extramarital relationships that lead to divorce. Even if that's out in the open, it's best not to continue that relationship, or start any new ones, while the divorce is ongoing. Anyone you're involved with could be dragged into the divorce if it goes to litigation, including being put on the stand to testify. For couples with children, the question of when and how a new significant other is introduced creates additional concerns-those are really best to be left out of ongoing divorce cases if that can be helped.

Don't spend money (or increase your debt)

In Bexar County (and in a number of other counties), standing orders prevent either party in a divorce from unnecessary expenditures-in other words, whatever might be seen as depleting the community assets. Sometimes, spending can be a way for one party in a divorce to express anger. But it obviously complicates a case to have assets being depleted while negotiating to divide them!

That said, normal household expenses are acceptable, and even emergency expenditures, like car repairs or air conditioning repairs, can be authorized. It's best to get a judge's permission to make that spend, though. (That will usually be granted, especially when you can demonstrate how it might impact your children.)

If you don't have access to credit cards and need access to credit during divorce, that can be acceptable, but it's better to ask for the judge's permission, and you obviously don't want to use any new cards to spend on anything that might be questioned by the opposing side.

But you don't want to go on any cruises or shopping sprees while this is taking place. If you do find that your spouse has spent community assets in this way, you can ask the judge to have your spouse reimburse the community assets, whether through liquid assets or some other means of compensation in the settlement.

Don't get pregnant

Pregnancy can actually delay a divorce and complicate the case. Even in situations where a married couple is going through a divorce and living separately, the husband will still be presumed to be the father initially. Once the baby is born, paternity testing will determine if the husband is the father-but the divorce can't be finalized until the judge knows for sure how many children the custodial and non-custodial parent are responsible for.

Don't take it out on the children

Though an obvious point, it bears mention. Children are innocent parties in divorce, and typically love both parents. It's human nature to want to know that people are on your side, especially when you're going through something difficult. But your kids shouldn't be asked to take sides. Bexar County standing orders already say you're not allowed to talk to children about details of the divorce proceedings or disparage the other parent. Doing so can cause alienation and complicate an already complicated situation for kids, as well as for you and your spouse.

The Law Office of Lisa Vance can help guide you on what to do in a divorce, and what course of action to take. We can also advise you on what actions to avoid while you're going through this incredibly transformative time in your life, to make sure you prepare for your best post-divorce life. 

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