The Divorce Process: Do's and Don'ts

Divorce, whether contested or uncontested, is one of the most stressful experiences people can go through in their lives. The emotional upheaval felt by the divorcing parties is often complicated by the potential limitation of access to children and the loss of financial resources. Yet, under these trying circumstances, divorcing parties must make critical decisions that will greatly affect their lives.

Taking some practical and strategic steps in the early stages of the divorce process can help you feel good about your decisions. Here are a number of key things that you should do, and more specifically not do, to lessen the chance that you will regret your decisions later on.

 

The Do's:
  • DO consult an experienced Divorce & Family Law Attorney to make sure your rights and interests are protected.
     

  • DO put your children at the top of your agenda. Children need a supportive environment to deal with divorce. Give thought to the setting and circumstances when you break the news.
     

  • DO begin gathering financial documents including copies of tax returns, bank statements, car loan information, mortgage information, and any retirement accounts you or your spouse may possess.
     

  • DO know your household budget expenses.
     

  • DO inventory the major items in your home.
     

  • DO keep a journal of important dates and events.
     

  • DO pay attention to your emotional needs. Focus on keeping yourself active, healthy, and moving forward.

 

The Don'ts:
  • DON’T move out of the marital home without talking to an attorney first, unless your spouse is violent.
     

  • DON’T abuse social media: texts, emails, phone numbers, call histories, GPS and Internet search histories, social media sites, and the dating services. Text messaging is the most common form of divorce evidence. Texts can be printed. If you don’t want the Judge to see it, don’t write it down. Either spouse can subpoena text messages and other social media materials.
     

  • DON’T involve the children. Minimize the amount you talk about the process. Refocus your energy so you can be there for your children, attend their school and extra-curricular events, help them with homework, and spend quality time together.
     

  • DON’T dismiss the possibility of mediation. A third-party professional can help you and your spouse to agree on financial issues, discovery disputes and any contested domestic relations issues in addition to initial determinations and modifications of custody, visitation or parenting time, removal of minor child(ren) from the State of Illinois, and allocation of parental responsibilities.
     

  • DON’T threaten to limit or deny visitation unless you have a real concern that the other parent poses a serious endangerment to the child’s physical or mental health. If the court is forced to choose between separate parenting plans, it must select the plan that maximizes the child’s relationship and access to both parents.
     

  • DON’T needlessly delay your divorce procedure. If you delay in providing your attorney with the financial information required by the court the procedure may become even more complicated.
     

  • DON’T forget to change your will. Divorce does not automatically revoke a will. If you want to prevent your ex-spouse from receiving the monies and privileges granted them in your will, you need to update your estate plan after the court enters a judgment for Dissolution of Marriage.
     

  • DON'T go it alone. Divorce is complicated, and an attorney can make sure that your interests are protected. The decisions you make during these times could dramatically affect your future. Choosing the proper attorney may be one of the most important decisions of your life. When you choose a divorce & family law attorney, you need an attorney with the legal knowledge and experience to protect your rights and obtain the best possible outcome for you.