Do you suspect that your marriage is failing? When you start pondering divorce, it can be easy to become angry, confused, or depressed. Although you might be tempted to lash out on social media or crawl into bed for a few months, the decisions that you make in the months leading up to your divorce are vital to your success in court. Here are two early mistakes that might cost you later, and what you can do to avoid problems.
1: Letting Your Spouse File First
Sometimes when people find themselves in a bad situation, they try to see the positive and hope that their problems will melt away. In an effort to save your marriage, you might decide to hold out for better days and wait to file paperwork. Unfortunately, procrastinating could mean that your spouse has the opportunity to file first, which could hurt your own case. Here are three reasons you should make every effort to file for divorce before your future ex has the chance:
- Access to Assets: After spending years saving money and investing in the stock market together, you might have a nice financial portfolio as a married couple. Unfortunately, one of the first things that most people do when they decide to get divorced is reallocate assets. For example, if you have a joint checking account and your spouse decides to file for divorce, he or she might run to the bank and change the account over into their name to protect themselves. Unless you want to deal with frozen checking, savings, and retirement accounts, try to file first.
- Choice of Legal Team: Once you are served papers, it can be easy to fly into a panic and hire whatever legal team you come across. However, your choice of legal representation is vital to your success in court. Fortunately, if you decide to file first, you will have time to thoughtfully interview attorneys and find a legal representative that you can be happy with. Also, remember that if your accounts have been frozen because your spouse had the opportunity to file first, you might not be able to afford the legal team that you need to win.
- Jurisdiction: Are you and your spouse already separated? Since divorce proceedings are typically decided on the state where papers are filed, you will want to file first so that you can choose the jurisdiction. Different states have different laws regarding child custody, spousal support, and asset division, so being able to choose jurisdiction is a huge advantage.
Although it might seem difficult to think about filing for divorce, the fact of the matter is that things might be harder later if you decide to wait. Take the time to discuss your options with a lawyer, so that you can be the one making the decisions.
2: Using Social Media
These days, most people love the online support system that social media can provide. In addition to posting fun photos of your most recent vacation and catching up with old friends, you might be able to vent about your problems. Unfortunately, using social media in the months leading into your divorce might cause problems later.
Believe it or not, lawyers can use the pictures and statements you post online in court against you. Posts can be used to show your attitude, whereabouts, and past behavior. For example, you might end up explaining why you were talking to your old college flame, or why you were in Cabo when you told your spouse that you were on a business trip. If you vent about your kids or ask for sarcastic parenting advice, your future ex could use that information to prove that you shouldn't have custody of your children.
Although you might not think that the use of social media is common in court, about one in five cases cite social media these days. If you want to avoid problems, keep your posting to a minimum leading into your divorce. Remember that anything that you put online can be retrieved later, which could dramatically affect the outcome of your case.
Making the right decisions before filing for divorce might help you to avoid problems in court, so that you can get on with your life.
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