What Can Be Used Against Me in a Divorce?
Pitfalls abound during the divorce process. It’s easy to feel paranoid when every conversation or activity could potentially land you in a world of trouble. Certain behaviors, however, are riskier than others. Awareness is essential; only then can you properly balance the risks and rewards of your new life. Trust the divorce attorneys at Stearns Law to keep you informed on what can be used against you during a divorce.
What Are the Most Common Things That Can Be Used Against Someone in a Divorce?
Divorcing spouses are often surprised by the extent to which seemingly everyday behaviors can cause trouble. It’s always worth pondering: what can someone use against you in a divorce? We’ve outlined a few of the most significant threats below.
Whether purposeful or entirely by accident, assets or income that aren’t disclosed could leave you at risk for contempt of court accusations. To avoid harsh repercussions, thoroughly examine and document all relevant assets. This should include not only obvious property such as real estate and retirement accounts, but also, artwork, antiques, equipment, and more. Take inventory early on to limit the potential for harmful allegations.
Extraordinary Spending of Marital Assets
The mantra “treat yourself” is repeated frequently during the divorce process, and with good reason: a combination of major stressors and a newfound sense of freedom pave the path for increased spending. If you’re like many people, you’ll attempt to find this in retail therapy or an exciting vacation. If spending appears out of line with the ordinary cost of living, however, you risk paying more in alimony — or receiving a smaller share of divided assets.
Texts and Emails
Never assume that your digital conversations are private. Text messages will need to be authenticated, but that’s not a problem for many divorcing spouses and their legal teams. Recovered text messages can easily be misinterpreted in court, where they could play into financial arrangements, childcare concerns, and more.
As dangerous as texts and emails can be, social media content is arguably even worse, as it’s incredibly accessible. Anything you post is fair game.
When in doubt, it’s best to keep your social media activity to a minimum for the duration of your divorce. This will help you avoid unwelcome surprises. After all, it’s impossible to predict which social media updates will be safe — and which will spell trouble for your divorce.
Romantic Relationships Before the Divorce is Official
Many divorces are initiated by accusations of infidelity. In other situations, soon-to-be exes rediscover the whirlwind of romance with someone new — while they’re still technically married. Either way, these romances can complicate already difficult divorce proceedings. If you pursue a new relationship, be prepared for extra scrutiny during the property division process, plus less favorable arrangements for both property division and alimony.
What Should You Avoid Doing During a Divorce?
By now, you should have a basic idea of which activities are riskiest during the divorce process. The desire to lead a somewhat normal life during divorce is reasonable, so no, you do not need to hide out until it’s finalized.
That being said, you’ll need to think carefully before taking certain actions that would not have required extra consideration in the past. How this plays out will vary based on your unique situation, but these best practices should help:
- Avoid acting out of spite. No matter how mad your ex or your ex’s attorney makes you feel, every major decision needs to come from a place of pure logic. This is where your divorce lawyer will come into play. The ideal representative will provide a valuable outside perspective while helping you separate logic from emotion.
- Don’t use your kids as pawns. Even well-intentioned parents often find themselves using their kids to extract better terms for their divorce. The thought process may be noble: the more I get, the more my kids benefit. Ultimately, however, this promotes a toxic mindset and damages much-needed relationships with other adult figures.
- Don’t attempt to hide money. Concealing assets seems like an easy way to safeguard your property from an aggressive spouse. This strategy is incredibly risky, however. If your attempts to hide money are uncovered, you may be deemed guilty of committing perjury. The repercussions can be harsh, ranging from covering your ex’s legal fees to claim dismissals or, in the most severe cases, incarceration.
- Don’t settle early. You want the drama of divorce out of the way as quickly as possible. A quick settlement seems like the best solution, so you can move on with your life. If this is not properly thought out, however, you may need to pursue modifications or enforcement actions — both of which are more stressful, could occupy even more time, and provide no guarantees. Instead, verify that you are financially secure before you finalize your divorce. Your attorney can work with you to find an expedited solution that still manages to keep you and your loved ones protected.
Work With the Divorce Attorneys at Stearns Montgomery & Proctor
A little discretion can make all the difference during your divorce. When in doubt, seek guidance from a local Georgia divorce lawyer you trust. Our team at Stearns-Montgomery & Proctor is happy to help. Contact us today to learn more.