Some common legal traps of divorce that trip up people occur when they do not realize that they are violating basic rules.
During the divorce proceedings, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- A big no-no is taking a child across the state line or out of the country, even during the proceedings. Permission is required from the other parent and a notarized statement if going abroad. I got accused of planning a trip overseas without my ex being informed of it ahead of time. Luckily all of our communication went through a mediator and he resent the original e-mail that he had indeed notified my sons’ father.
- When selling something that was bought with marital funds, check with your attorney regarding the legality of this first. I apparently violated this by selling my sons’ play structure without my spouse’s permission during divorce. My children and I were moving out of the marital home during our divorce and the realtor said to get rid of it ASAP. I put an ad in the newspaper and let the boys split the $100 received for their play structure. My spouse was livid and my attorney gave me a lecture. I insisted that my ex would have to collect any money he felt that was owed to him, directly from his sons.
- My attorney’s mantra was, “Don’t say anything at all about your spouse/ex or that can come back and bite you on the butt.” She did not want to deal with slander (making perceived false allegations to a third party) or defamation which are statements that can cause someone to lose their job or social standing in the community. This would include not posting anything on social media about your ex or details of your divorce. Better to avoid legal complications in the first place.
As you are finalizing your divorce, put as much detail as possible in the divorce decree. It is the little items omitted that can cause bumps in the road when the divorce has been finalized. Some important things include:
- Stating what school the children will attend or address the issue of the children not being able to leave your city if you sense an imminent relocation for your ex. The parenting plan is so important in preventing going to court or troubles at a later date.
- Be specific regarding vacations, how holidays are to be split, and the amount of shared care between parents. The UK is moving away from 50/50 since not having a home base and frequent transitions can be unsettling to kids. We can learn from them. Be clear about who pays for tuition, school activities, sports and camps.
- Be clear on the terms of alimony and child support. Put in the date when they cease, so your ex does not try to end them early. State alimony is paid whether or not you co-habitate or remarry. Get the payments done through automatic transfer from his bank account to yours, plus state that in the decree. Address in the eventuality of bankruptcy that these obligations remain, but the amount paid may be renegotiated.
Ask your attorney for basic guidelines and get specifics written into the divorce decree so you do not stumble around and inadvertently violate legal requirements of your divorce. Discuss worst case scenarios with your attorney during your divorce so that she inserts what is needed in the decree to prevent these from occurring in the post-divorce period. Keeping all of these in mind will help you avoid legal traps and successful navigate your divorce.