We’re so often telling clients (and readers) what to do that I thought it might be time to just give some really bad divorce advice. What follows are some tips and tricks that clients often come in thinking they should do or they have already done. Don’t do any of these things. Really bad advice for divorce clients:
- Don’t work while the divorce is pending. It doesn’t matter what your situation is. Not working, being underemployed, and not looking for work is really bad advice. There are lots of reasons to work and not all of them are financial. If at all possible you should work as much as is practical while your divorce is pending.
- Spending too much on your attorney. I hear that lots of you brag about how much you have to pay your attorney. You really need to step back and think about what you can realistically afford to pay an attorney to get divorced. You also need to pay your attorney as you go and keep a careful eye on what you are doing with your case so that you don’t overspend. Continually talk options with respect to how you can get divorced for less. You will regret the financial hole you have put yourself in later if you spend more than you reasonably have on an attorney.
- Get a new partner ASAP and introduce them to your kids. The best way to get over someone is NOT to get someone else. If you get someone else quickly and introduce them to your kids expect to lose custody of your children.
- Move all of your belongings out of the house while your spouse is at work. Don’t tell your spouse this is your plan either. These divorces where one spouse moves out of the house all unbeknown to the other spouse all go very bad. The element of surprise should not be what you are going for in a divorce.
- Buy your girlfriend an engagement ring. Until you are legally divorced half of that engagement ring belongs to your wife. Need I say more?
- Hacking into your spouse’s email/tracking her car. In some situations hacking into your spouse’s email can result in criminal charges being filed against you. You don’t need criminal charges and a divorce pending at the same time. Nothing good ever comes from following someone else around.
- Getting extremely drunk and then X. Lots of divorce clients go out, get drunk, and then do something very regrettable. This could be confronting your spouse in front of other people, showing up at your spouse’s house, getting arrested for drinking and driving, getting drunk in front of your children, etc. Again, how many attorneys do you want to pay at one time?
- Posting on Social Media. Even if you go back later and delete the social media post it’s probably too late. This could be things you shouldn’t be saying on social media, posting inappropriate pictures of your spouse, or just ranting about the divorce in general. You cannot take this back in front of the judge so don’t do it to begin with.
- Not financially supporting your spouse or children. There may not be court orders in place yet but almost all judges have the ability to make retroactive support orders. These support orders can go back several months and/or years. You may think you are saving money and really getting the better end of the deal or you may just be mad at your spouse for leaving but by not voluntarily paying your spouse any support this will come back to bite you. The bite could be very big and set you back financially for years to come.