You started your search for a divorce attorney but found that most attorney advertising doesn’t give you any useful information at all about how to find the right lawyer for your case.
I wrote this article and the other articles on my blog so you can have good information in the quiet of your own home BEFORE you hire a lawyer and before you talk to your spouse or spouse’s lawyer (Hopefully, you haven’t signed forms yet!).
Sometimes a divorcing spouse can be their worst enemy during a case. This may be because of all the emotions they are experiencing. Sometimes those feelings of stress, hurt, or anger can cloud their better judgment and lead to bad decision making.
While the feelings may be natural, some of the mistakes made by people going through divorce are avoidable.
Below are 6 mistakes that should be avoided during a divorce:
1. Taking No Action and Not Seeking Legal Help
When faced with a difficult decision, many people do nothing. There is a saying that “if you do not have a plan for your life, someone else will.”
Texas law requires that you follow certain procedures when:
- You file for divorce;
- If you receive notice that your spouse has filed for divorce;
- Preparing and filing a divorce petition;
- Answering a divorce petition.
If you ignore an ongoing divorce or deadlines during the divorce process, there are consequences, and sometimes these consequences can be fatal to your case. Therefore, it is important that you contact a divorce lawyer as soon as possible to help you with your case.
2. Hide Things from Your Attorney
If you are involved in a divorce, the opposing party has the right to obtain information from you regarding your:
- Criminal history;
- Parenting ability;
- Substance abuse;
- Medical and psychological information.
You may be reluctant to provide or tempted to hide the above information. If you hide or lie anything during the divorce and it is discovered by the other side or the Judge, your credibility will be compromised, and it will damage your divorce case.
It is important that you be candid with your divorce lawyer regarding all matters. One of the jobs of your Texas divorce lawyer is to evaluate whether there is a problem with your case and what are your weak areas. However, your lawyer cannot prepare for an issue of which they are unaware.
Your divorce lawyer will help you to prepare for your in-court testimony and how to minimize any bad facts. Surprises can make a bad situation worse. You should make your divorce lawyer aware of any:
- Drug use;
- Hidden assets;
- Any other bad facts.
It is important that you avoid destroying evidence. This is known as spoliation of evidence. Spoliation means that a party destroys or conceals evidence that would have been harmful to him at trial.
Such an act or the appearance of having engaged in such activity would invite your ex’s attorney to file a motion for discovery sanctions against you.
3. Hiding or Disposing of Assets
Hiding assets during a divorce is highly unethical and illegal as well. If discovered, a court can hand down severe penalties. If it is suspected that you are hiding assets, a forensic accountant will most likely be called in to help search for hidden assets. This will be expensive for both you and your spouse.
If it is discovered that you were hiding assets, those assets may be awarded to your spouse. There is a good chance your spouse has a general idea what assets exist in the marriage. In addition, do not dispose of assets you know your spouse is going to request. For example, do not sell her great-grandfather’s table in the attic and expect to get away with it.
It is a better idea to avoid hiding assets and be completely honest about your total financial situation and ask the court for a “just and right division.” If you lie about your financial situation, you are inviting the court to punish you and give your spouse a disproportionate share of the property.
4. Posting Foolish Things on Facebook, Other Social Media, Or Email
If you are involved in a Texas Divorce or Child Custody case, you should become aware of what you share and post online. In the age of the internet, we have become comfortable sharing (and over-sharing!) every moment of our lives online with the people we are connected to. But these electronic communications can become dangerous tools against you in your Texas Divorce.
Social media and social networking websites such as Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter can all be used against you in a court proceeding. Screenshots, print-outs of images, status updates, tweets, location check-ins, and other electronic evidence can be gathered in order to contradict statements or question conduct. It is in your best interest to maintain your profiles carefully and to exercise extreme caution with what you post and share.
It is important that you avoid posting negative comments about your spouse or children or describe or photograph any questionable behavior on social media or in emails. These comments will not help your case and will probably hurt you in court. I have seen things like:
- Pictures of smoking marijuana or doing other drugs on Facebook;
- Calling their daughter, a whore or wishing the child had never been born;
- Posing with stacks of cash.
These were all done in cases where the parent was either seeking custody or saying they did not have money to pay child support. As you would imagine, the court found the posts on Facebook to be highly relevant and it did not help the case of the parent.
Be nice to your spouse. Do not put anything in email, voicemail, text, or any other form of writing that you would not want to read in church to the entire congregation.
5. Not Working as a Team or Communicating with Your Attorney
It is important to communicate with your divorce lawyer during the divorce. You need to make sure that:
- You are available and that they can contact you when necessary;
- Your lawyer can obtain information and documents from you;
- You assist in answering discovery requests if made by your spouse or opposing counsel.
You will also be needed when your lawyer is preparing for depositions or in court hearings.
It is also important to copy your lawyer on all communications with your soon-to-be ex-spouse. If your ex sends you crazy or threatening text messages, give a copy of it to your attorney.
6. Losing Your Cool in Court or in a Deposition
When you go to court or a deposition:
- Tell the truth.
- Dress appropriately.
- Be polite and do not get angry.
- Do not answer a question that is not asked.
- Do not argue with the judge or the opposing counsel.
- If you do not know the answer to a question, do not guess.
- Do not talk over someone who is speaking.
- Do not react while the other party or a witness for the other party is testifying. You should remain calm, and your expression should not change no matter what the testimony is from the witness stand. No one likes histrionics from a client at a counsel table.
- If you have previously been deposed, we will review your deposition testimony before your hearing or trial testimony.
Remember that when you go to trial, the judge and the jury are watching you. If the jury or the judge does not like you and does not believe you, they will look for a way to deny you what you are asking.
If the judge or jury likes you and believes your story, they will usually try to find a way to help you achieve the result you want, or at least a fair result.
If you want to know more about what you can do, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “16 Steps to Help You Plan & Prepare for Your Texas Divorce”
If you want to know more about how to prepare, CLICK the button below to get your FREE E-book: “13 Dirty Tricks to Watch Out For in Your Texas Divorce, and How to Counter Them” Today!”
Other Articles you may be interested in:
- How Social Media Can Hurt You in Divorce
- Getting Ready for a Hearing On Temporary Custody Orders
- Can I sue my spouse’s mistress in Texas?
- My Spouse Has Accused Me of Adultery in my Texas Divorce and I Haven’t
- When is, Cheating Considered Adultery in a Texas Divorce?
- Sex, Lies, Rock-and-roll, and Adultery in a Texas Divorce
- Can I Sue My Spouse for Mental Abuse in My Texas Divorce?
- 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas
- Texas Divorce Morality Clause: Be Careful What You Ask For
- What does Insupportability or No-Fault in a Texas Divorce Mean?
- Adding a Deceased Father to a Child’s Birth Certificate
- Can I stop my wife from getting my Social Security in a divorce?
- Divorce when Husband is Not the father
- Can my ex-wife claim my pension after divorce?
- Handing Taxes during and after your divorce
Bryan Fagan, a native of Atascocita, Texas, is a dedicated family law attorney inspired by John Grisham’s “The Pelican Brief.” He is the first lawyer in his family, which includes two adopted brothers. Bryan’s commitment to family is personal and professional; he cared for his grandmother with Alzheimer’s while completing his degree and attended the South Texas College of Law at night.
Married with three children, Bryan’s personal experiences enrich his understanding of family dynamics, which is central to his legal practice. He specializes in family law, offering innovative and efficient legal services. A certified member of the College of the State Bar of Texas, Bryan is part of an elite group of legal professionals committed to ongoing education and high-level expertise.
His legal practice covers divorce, custody disputes, property disputes, adoption, paternity, and mediation. Bryan is also experienced in drafting marital property agreements. He leads a team dedicated to complex family law cases and protecting families from false CPS allegations.
Based in Houston, Bryan is active in the Houston Family Law Sector of the Houston Bar Association and various family law groups in Texas. His deep understanding of family values and his professional dedication make him a compassionate advocate for families navigating Texas family law.