“Best practices” is a concept that is utilized pretty frequently in the business world. This concept refers to mimicking the operations and processes utilized by other people and companies that have proven themselves over time to be successful. Everyone would like to be able to conduct themselves in the most efficient and effective manner possible, and when a business identifies a practice that allows them to do so in the best possible manner it is borrowed and implemented.
I like to think of attorneys as being in the business of helping clients to implement best practices into their lives as well. Instead of teaching how to operate a business we teach how to operate within whatever legal matter you find yourself involved in.
For divorce cases the best practices that I can conceive of in regard to property issues were relayed to you all in yesterday’s blog post. In today’s blog post we will shift gears and approach this topic from the standpoint of what NOT to do with your property during a divorce. Do not let your emotions get in the way of handling your business well in an important time of your life. We hope this information will help you find some balance in handling issues related to your children as well as your property.
Save important decisions until after your divorce is complete
In the aftermath of losing a loved one, it is good advice to not make any life altering decisions until well after the passing of your relative. The reason for this is that in the time period immediately after their passing your mental state is clouded by grief and any other emotion that you may be experiencing. As a result, it makes sense that you may not be able to make the soundest of judgments on any issue that is affecting your life.
The same can be said in a divorce. While your spouse is not passing away, in many regards a divorce is putting you in a situation that is not far removed from a death in the family. Your stability, life partner and peace of mind may be greatly diminished with the serving of divorce papers either on your or your spouse. Even if you were the spouse who pushed for and initiated the divorce, that does not mean that you will be immune from these feelings.
Our piece of advice that we would like to share today is to understand that you are going through a really difficult set of circumstances in regard to your divorce and to therefore put all important and potentially life altering decisions on the side until your divorce is final. I’m not telling you to delay these decisions forever but I am saying that you will be better off waiting until your divorce concludes before making them.
If you want to quit your job and go into a different line of work that’s your right to do so. However, while your divorce is ongoing you ought to stick it out at your current position if for no other reason than you need stability in your life during a divorce. Once the emotions and stresses of the divorce have faded away you can approach the decision to change lines of work again. It could be that you still want to make the change. Or, you may find that you only wanted a change because the rest of your life was stressful and led you to make that decision out of emotion rather than out of a good reason to do so.
Finally, do not make big purchases during a divorce. If you know that you and your spouse are going to sell your house in your divorce settlement it is fine to move out and rent an apartment. However, do not go out and buy a new house before your divorce has concluded. The reasons are many but I will discuss two with you. First of all, you do not want to introduce another issue into your divorce that is unnecessary. It is difficult enough as it is to settle a divorce case. The last thing you need is to throw up another hurdle to settlement by getting your money involved in huge transaction that likely does nothing to help you accomplish your goals.
The second point I wanted to make is again to affirm that you are not in the best mindset to make important decisions during a divorce. Do you know if you want to remarry? Do you know what your job is going to be in one, three or five years? If you don’t have children you may not even be tied to the area that you are currently living in. Why not give yourself at least a few months post-divorce to figure out what it is you want out of your new life and what it is you want in a new home?
Do not hide assets under any circumstances
The thing about a divorce is that you and your spouse should both be operating under the same set of circumstances as far as access to important information. Now, that doesn’t mean that your conclusions that you reach will be the same. Nor does it mean that one side or the other may obtain more information than the other due to differences in communication and lawyering skills. However, a divorce cannot yield an equitable result when onside is “hiding the ball” on particular issues.
If you are aware of assets that need to be discussed in the context of your divorce you need to disclose those. Hiding assets (bank accounts, investments, real estate) and keeping that information from your spouse does not do anyone any favors. If your spouse were to learn of the property during the divorce you will have made it impossible for him or her to trust you. This renders negotiation impossible. Secondly, if your spouse finds out about it quickly after your divorce a motion for new trial may be filed and will likely be granted. You will then find yourself in a situation where your ex-spouse and the judge know you to be dishonest. That is a tough path to trod as far as re-litigating your divorce.
Keep property matters in perspective
Ultimately there are some hills that you should be willing to die on, and some you should not. What I mean by this is that there are some subjects that are absolutely integral to your divorce that you should feel justified in fighting until the bitter end for. Your children are example of this type of subject. Another may be your business that you helped build from the ground up.
Personal property with little or no sentimental value are not the sort of metaphorical hills that you should feel justified in dying for and on. I have seen people in divorces get wrapped up in arguments in mediation regarding video game console controllers and similarly silly pieces of personal property. Once you get to the point where you are dividing up the knives and spoons it may be time to let discretion be the better part of valor and cede some items to your spouse. That’s not to say that you should completely bow down to him or her. But it is to say that unless an object has a great deal of personal significance to it that you should not approach these negotiations with a kill or be killed attitude. Money is money. But your time and peace of mind cannot be replaced.
Best practices in regard to child custody- tomorrow’s blog post subject
For most parents involved in divorce cases, their children represent the most important portions of their case. With that said, we will discuss this subject in tomorrow’s blog post and hopefully provide some practical advice that you can apply to your own life.
In the meantime, if you have any questions in regard to your divorce or family law case please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys with the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC. We offer free of charge consultations with our licensed family law attorneys six days a week. Thank you for the opportunity to share this information with you and we hope that you will return to our blog tomorrow to read more about the law and how our office may be able to assist you in your family law matter.