Divorce “Do's and Don'ts”
Getting the Upper Hand and Avoiding Mistakes
File First. The filing parties of times can set the table. The party that files the original complaint can present the evidence first. The filing party is often the party that will speak first and often that party is more prepared(if they have good counsel). However, if you are not the filing party it is not the end of the world or your case by any means. Quality counsel can overcome you not being the filing party. Furthermore; there is not a legal difference between the filing party and the non-filing party. Both parties are equal under the law. There is also a state law specifically https://www.mass.gov/law-library/massachusetts-supplemental-rules-of-the-probate-and-family-court
Which acts as an automatic restraining order against both spouses. This prevents both parties from moving assets, money, AND incurring debt. Your spouse is prevented from any transfer of an asset or is prevented from incurring further martial debt.
Neither party shall sell, transfer, encumber, conceal, assign, remove or in any way dispose of any property, real or personal, belonging to or acquired by, either party, except: (a) as required for reasonable expenses of living; (b) in the ordinary and usual course of business; (c) in the ordinary and usual course of investing; (d) for payment of reasonable attorney's fees and costs in connection with the action; (e) written agreement of both parties; or (f) by order of the court.
By being the filing party you can control which this occurs. Sometimes that knowledge is helpful.
Watch your Bank Accounts, Credit Cards, and Credit Score. Try as best that you can to separate your finances. Determine what accounts are JOINT accounts and what are not; this included bank accounts, credit card debt, mortgage debt, and life insurance. The worst thing that could happen is your spouse cleans out your joint bank account. Also, be aware that your spouse might know what is going on. Oftentimes the other party is aware that you are thinking about filing and they might be employing their own strategy.
Stay Away from your Spouse. Do not contact your spouse after filing. This is hard to do. Oftentimes children are involved but do your best to avoid contact and if you need to have such contact make it as non-confrontational as possible; despite how you feel. Obviously, if your spouse harasses or threatens you; you are free to contact the local police department or call your attorney.
Watch the Social Media of your spouse. It is crazy what people put on Instagram and Facebook and since 2008 it has become a treasure trove of evidence used in family court cases. It is important to be mindful of this and keep an eye on your ex's Facebook page. Linked In as well is a great place to monitor. Remember that both sites have privacy settings that could prevent this monitoring. Keep your fingers off the keys and do not post anything negative or derogatory; it could come back to bite you and cost you more money in legal fees. Any posts, comments, or other announcements that are negative about you or indicative of wasteful, neglectful or irresponsible behavior may be very damaging to your ex. It is also important to keep an eye on your ex's linked-in page. He or she may have changed jobs and not told you – which can affect alimony and child support.
Breathe Decisions that are made now will likely have long-reaching consequences. So think things thru before you make a decision. If a positive outcome is what you desire; please call me today to discuss your options.
For your convenience, appointments may be scheduled during flexible hours. Our office is centrally located in Reading near Route 93 and Route 95/128. We serve clients in Middlesex and Essex County.