Things to Remember in Divorce

by Anna Assad

Legally ending a marriage in divorce can be stressful, upsetting and complicated, making it easy to overlook important matters or make mistakes during the legal proceedings. Depending on your state's laws and the circumstances of your divorce, you may end up in court numerous times during the divorce proceedings. Although you may return to court to change parts of your final divorce judgment later, it's easier and usually less stressful if you manage to address all the divorce issues and your concerns in court before the divorce is finalized.

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Property and Debt Considerations

You must be aware of what you can't and can do while going through a divorce with regard to property and debts. Increasing debt—such as running up credit cards on accounts in your spouse's name—isn't advisable, as both you and your spouse are responsible for marital debts. Trim living expenses if you can't afford to cover the normal bills on your own and your spouse isn't helping. Don't sell assets that may be subject to property division during the divorce, such as the family car, even if the asset is in your name only. You'll end up owing your spouse his half of the asset and losing potential property negotiation leverage. If you're dating another person, don't use marital income or assets, such as savings, to buy the person gifts or go on joint vacations, as you'll owe this money back to your spouse.

Appearances

Some of the judge's decisions are influenced by the behavior the parties display. For example, if you try to stop the your spouse from seeing the children, the judge may view your actions as interference with the his parental rights when he's reviewing your custody request later. The judge will look at your relationship with your children and your behavior toward their other parent when deciding custody and visitation matters. Dating another person during your divorce often makes the situation more emotional, and you may upset your children if you date, harming your relationship with them. Your spouse might become upset if you date another person, making compromises on some of the divorce issues less likely. Don't move in with a new companion during divorce: Your share of the marital property, or the court's judgment with regard to spousal support, may be affected.

Your Goals

Although it may seem obvious to list your goals, certain matters often get overlooked in divorce. Because divorce may bring up negative emotions—anger and sadness, for instance—you may forget to address some issues during the divorce proceedings. For example, if you're fighting for custody, you may forget to assert your position on specific holidays you want with your children, a matter that will come up when you're setting a visitation schedule with the other parent. Creating a detailed list regarding custody, asset division and other concerns, such as spousal support and visitation, helps ensure everything is addressed before the divorce is finalized.

The Children

Divorce is hard and confusing for your children. Your children should be a priority throughout the entire divorce, but because of the emotions involved, their needs may not be entirely met. As far as possible, children should not be involved in the divorce, and they should not used as weapons against your spouse. Work with your spouse to provide the children stability and continue to make parenting decisions together.