Divorce is a complex and emotionally challenging process that requires careful consideration and strategic decision-making. From navigating legal intricacies to managing the emotional turmoil, divorcing couples often find themselves overwhelmed and prone to making critical mistakes that can impact their future. In the following article, diligent San Diego lawyers shed light on the common mistakes to avoid during divorce proceedings, empowering individuals to safeguard their interests and achieve a smoother transition to a new chapter in life.
What are the most common divorce mistakes?
When going through a divorce, it’s important to be aware of the most common mistakes that individuals often make during the process. They can have far-reaching consequences, impacting the division of assets, child custody arrangements, and overall emotional well-being.
Posting on social media
During a divorce, you should avoid posting anything about your divorce because it will likely be negatively construed against you and lodged with the Court. You can still use your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. However, it is important to be aware of what you post, when you post it, and how these online posts could affect your divorce.
You should be aware of not only your posts but also any comments or replies to others because any negative comment or reply can be construed in a negative light when it comes to custody and visitation, division of your assets, or other contested issues. These comments or replies do not disappear even if you delete them. It is wise to check your privacy settings at the beginning of your divorce because this ensures any postings, comments, or replies will less likely be seen by the opposing party.
Removing funds out of a joint account
You should avoid removing any funds out of a joint account until there is an agreement or judgment to divide the account. When a petition is filed and starts the divorce proceeding, California law imposes automatic temporary restraining orders (ATROs) prohibiting you or your spouse from making financial changes, such as withdrawing funds from a joint account. If you withdraw funds from a joint account, you may be required to reimburse your spouse, and could be subject to sanctions by the court.
Hiding any marital asset
California is a community property state. Community property is property acquired by spouses during marriage. This means you and your spouse have a one-half interest in the assets and debts acquired during marriage.
In a divorce proceeding, you and your spouse are required to provide accurate and complete disclosure of all assets and liabilities in which either spouse has or may have an interest or obligation including information about income and expenses of the spouse.
If you do not make a proper disclosure, it can result in inequitable agreements. This may require the Court to set aside agreements or judgments to advance the public interest of proper and accurate disclosures. Hiding marital assets will also likely result in a breach of fiduciary duty and warrant an imposition of a punishment or sanction.
Discussing your divorce with your children
In California, the Court emphasizes the best interests of the children when deciding custody, visitation, and child support. It is in your child’s best interest to avoid speaking about your divorce or speaking ill of the other parent because it can hurt your child to hear ill of any parent and it can poorly affect a parent’s relationship with their child. However, many parents make the mistake of using their kids as pawns or middlemen in a contentious divorce because of anger and resentment towards the other parent.
Moving away with your child without a move away order
During a divorce, either the Court will issue a custody order, or the parties will stipulate to an agreement on physical and legal custody. Typically, the Family Court favors joint physical custody which grants the parents equal parenting time of their child.
This means neither you nor your spouse can move or even take your child across state lines unless there is permission from the other party. Neither spouse is entitled to keep your child away from the other spouse. There needs to be a court order permitting a move away with your child before any party can move beyond state lines with your child.
Misusing a restraining order
You should not use a restraining order as a sword instead of a shield. This means a party should not file an order of protection to antagonize the other party, alienate a child from the other party, and/or obtain leverage in other related issues, such as custody, visitation, or finances.
If you do so, you are using the domestic violence restraining order as a “sword” to gain the upper hand instead of a “shield” of protection from violence. The purpose of a domestic violence restraining order is to prevent the recurrence of acts of abuse and to protect the victim from further abuse. It is not meant to be used as leverage or a means of controlling your divorce.
The legal system is already complex, but navigating a divorce proceeding is even more intricate, especially for an individual with no legal background or experience. The legal process encompasses proper filings, responses, servicing, discovery, and appearing in Court. It is best to hire an attorney who is proficient in family law and legal proceedings to assist in your case. This ensures everything is legal and you receive favorable terms.
Our firm recognizes the common mistakes that can arise during divorce proceedings, particularly in areas such as property division, and we’re committed to helping you avoid these pitfalls. You can rest assured that you will have a trusted advocate by your side in San Diego guiding you through the legal complexities, protecting your rights, and working towards a favorable resolution, all with the utmost care and professionalism.
Learn more about the Certified Family Law Specialist (CFLS) designation and why it’s important.
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The Preeminent AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell recognizes an attorney’s exemplary legal ability and professional ethics. Learn more about the founder of JWB Family Law, Jane Wesley Brooks, CFLS. Jane is a Certified Family Law Specialist with the California State Bar, and a Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Peer Rated lawyer.
The information and materials on this website are provided for general informational purposes only, and are not intended to be legal advice. We attempt to provide quality information, but the law changes frequently, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. The information and materials provided are general in nature, and may not apply to a specific factual or legal circumstance. An attorney and client relationship should not be implied. Nothing on this website is intended to substitute for the advice of an attorney; therefore, if you require legal advice, please consult with a competent attorney licensed to practice in your jurisdiction.