There is no denying that divorce is one of the most emotionally trying times a person can go through. With all the pain and uncertainty involved, it's understandable when spouses feel inclined to do something rash.
But let's be clear: there are lots of mistakes you don't want to make when going through a difficult split. Making an ill-advised decision could lead to an unfavorable settlement, and in some cases, a parent's parental rights could be at risk.
A List of Divorce and Family Law Don'ts
1. Unless there are safety issues, don't deny the other parent access to your child, even if the other parent is behind on child support. Doing this could be emotionally damaging to your child, and a family law court is likely to side with the other parent with regard to child custody rights. If you need unpaid child support from the other parent, speak with a lawyer about your enforcement options.
2. Don't hide money or assets in an effort to keep them out of the divorce settlement. Examples of this include putting a military paycheck in a new bank account; abruptly selling stocks; moving IRAs around; putting property such as boat in the child's name. Hiding assets is illegal, and the division of property will end up being worse for you if you try to hide property.
3. Don't, under any circumstances, file a false domestic violence injunction in an effort to have someone removed from the home. Again, this is illegal, and the outcome will be bad for everyone involved.
4. Don't try to turn your child against the other parent. Courts now recognize the importance of keeping both parents in a child's life, and trying to poison the child's relationship with the other parent can not only be harmful to the child; doing so could hurt your case.
5. Don't post to social media any images or statements of alcohol, drugs, girlfriends or boyfriends, affairs or even a picture of your child home on a weekday while skipping school. Social media is discoverable evidence in a divorce, and this kind of evidence is increasingly used to affect the outcome of settlements.
6. If you're a military member or the spouse of a military member, don't assume that taking the kids and moving back home to be with your parents is necessarily the best idea. You could face very high costs if you get subpoenaed to appear back in Florida.
In all divorce and child custody matters, it is important to obtain counsel and representation from a family law attorney who cares about you and your situation.
For more on that, please see our Florida family law overview. At Zachary A. VanDuke, PA, we provide customized family law solutions for clients throughout the Panama City area.