It is tempting to tell bold action in order to change the course of events. I think we can all say that at one point in our lives or another we have done something that we wish we would not have. Desperate times call for desperate measures some would say.
A divorce is certainly a desperate time for many people. Emotions are heightened and the subject matter involves your finances and children. The things in life that are most of important to people are at stake and we have very little control over many aspects of the case. What is a person to do when they feel like their life is slipping away and there isn’t a thing that they can do about it? What would you do if you found yourself at risk of losing your house or children?
The answer for many people is to do things that are possibly illegal and very much go against fair play. Even in a divorce, there are rules to follow and your failure to follow the rules could result in you receive a stiff punishment from your judge. To begin today's blog post from the Law Office of Bryan Fagan I would like to share with you some tips on what NOT to do when it comes to managing a divorce case.
Mind your own business and not your spouse’s
In a world of spy movies, it is common to see a character put a tracking device on the bumper of a vehicle in order to keep tabs on the driver. Surveillance of this sort is forbidden by Texas law and is obviously a no-no in your divorce. It may be tempting to track your spouse's movements- you may hold the opinion that the only way to prove that your spouse is doing something wrong is to present evidence of this sort. That "gut" feeling that your spouse is having an affair may not have any real evidence to back it up, but if you can track their movements that all could change.
Let me take this opportunity to recommend that you stop this sort of behavior before it starts. Like I already mentioned, putting a tracking device on another person’s vehicle without their knowledge is illegal. So you could wind up facing criminal charges as well as penalties administered by your family court judge.
The other major reason why it is not worth the effort to install a tracking device on your spouse's vehicle is that it will not be admissible into evidence. The key to any piece of evidence that you attempt to use in your divorce is will the judge even be able to consider whatever it is that you are attempting to utilize? Your spouse's attorney will surely object to the usage of any evidence that is obtained in an illegal manner. As a result, your judge will likely never see what you want him to see.
Emails are private- even if you know your spouse’s password
It isn’t uncommon for one spouse to know another’s password or login information for a particular website. Your spouse may have logged into their email account on your phone and you’ve still got their information saved if you would ever be so inclined as to log on and see what is happening in their account. Now that you are going through a divorce and are possibly even suspicious of their habits you may be tempted to simply use the stored information on your computer to log into their email account.
Again, I would recommend that you resist the temptation. The same advice I gave in the section previous to this one about installing tracking devices on a vehicle apply to log into your spouse's email account without their permission. You are violating state and federal laws against this kind of behavior. The evidence that you obtain will not be admissible in a courtroom hearing or trial.
The other side of this issue is that by going behind your spouse’s back and violating their trust you are increasing the likelihood that your spouse is going to do something similar to you. I don’t have any scientific studies to prove this assertion but I am telling you this from my own experiences representing people in divorce cases. Once you “open Pandora’s box” in this regard your spouse will be emboldened to do the same to you.
What you will find happening is that if you and your spouse go tit for tat with one another as far as sneaky, bad acts are concerned is a longer and more expensive case than likely need be. Consider whether or not the “juice is worth the squeeze.” Is the end result of what you’re doing worth the actions it takes to produce those results? My opinion that the juice is never worth the squeeze in these type of scenarios.
Remain calm. Do not panic.
It may feel like your entire world is crashing all around you in a divorce case. The things in life that you felt the most assured of may now be the very things that seem to be out of place and in disarray. Ending your marriage and having your children caught in limbo as far as where they will be living and with whom tends to make a person feel this way. I can’t say that I blame you and definitely would say that most people going through a divorce would feel the same way.
With that said, the feeling of your life being more topsy-turvy than usual does not justify your losing your cool and doing things that are out of character for you. I can safely assume (I hope, at least) that most of you reading this blog post are adults who know how to conduct themselves in public and in dealing with other people. We all have those moments where we think it would feel great to just let loose, use bad language and otherwise act inappropriately. These feelings can be exacerbated when it feels like we are being attacked emotionally.
However, most of us are able to separate our feelings of anger and hostility and how our behavior actually is when those feelings arise. Self-control is a huge part of growing up as a child and it is just as important in the context of a divorce. Your case will push your limits on how well you can conduct yourself in moments of adversity.
Examining a real-world example of how to keep your cool under tough circumstances
Let’s take a real-world example. I had a case recently where our client was always in a position where his wife would show up late to drop off their son for visitation periods. The parents decided that it would be best to do drop off/pick up in a restaurant parking lot in between where each was living. When it would come time for our client to see his son it would typically happen that his wife would arrive five to ten minutes late each time. What upset our client most (besides knowing that he was losing small bits of time with his child each time this happened) was that he knew his wife was a very punctual person. She was never late to anything- except dropping off their son.
I would get a phone call or email each time she did this. It would result in me sending a friendly email to the wife’s attorney letting her know that she was, again, not living up to her end of the bargain as agreed to in the Temporary Orders. The opposing attorney would get on her client to not show up late but it wouldn’t help. My client would end up getting frustrated but he knew that there wasn’t all that much we could do. This really was not something egregious enough to file an enforcement lawsuit against his spouse.
My advice to him was to keep his cool, remind his wife of the correct time to do these drop off/pick ups and to otherwise be as friendly as possible. He stood to gain very little by being rude and/or vulgar towards his wife. In a situation where words and actions can be twisted and manipulated with relative ease, an aggressive tone with your spouse can spell doom for your divorce. To the client’s credit, he never took the bait, never did anything but calmly remind his wife of the agreed upon time for drop off/pick up and then he would collect his son and go about their day.
This is the reality of divorce. There are going to be aspects of your case that you cannot control and that feel like you are being taken advantage of. Sometimes, as we saw in the situation above, you actually will be taken advantage of even if it is on a relatively small level. Be that as it may, divorces have a way of making those small slights seem like humongous episodes of disrespect. Talk to your attorney before you do anything rash. Talk to your attorney about these issues. It can help you avoid big mistakes down the line in your case.
Learn your temporary orders
A lot of people take the position that they are hiring an attorney to represent them in divorce and as a result, it is the attorney's job to know their court orders, know all the facts of their case and to generally handle the business of litigating the divorce. There are some attorneys who I'm sure would be thrilled to have a hands-off client who placed this degree of trust in the attorney but I can assure you that this is a mistake waiting to happen.
The reality is that your divorce case is yours and yours alone. It is not your attorney’s case in the sense that what happens in your case does not personally affect your lawyer. Your attorney is responsible for advising you well and keeping you up to date on settlement offers and court dates. Your attorney is not in charge of making decisions for you. On the contrary, she is in charge of advising you so that you can be knowledgeable of the issues in your case when it comes time for you to make decisions.
The best thing I can tell you to do in this regard is to learn the temporary orders in your case. Likely you will attend mediation with your spouse where you two will be able to agree to the terms of a settlement in regard to temporary orders. Most divorces do not require temporary orders hearings. You may believe that you generally know what is included in the temporary orders but this is not good enough. You need to read through the orders as soon as your attorney provides you a copy. You need to ask questions about the orders and make sure that you understand what the orders say.
The reason that you need to learn these orders is that it is crucial that you do not violate them. If you know the rules of the game you are far less likely to be called for a foul or penalty. Imagine playing in a football game where you didn't know it was illegal to cross the line of scrimmage before the ball is snapped or to hold a player from advancing down the field. You would be called for a lot of penalties and would be hurting your team each time you violated the rules. The same thing goes for your divorce. Learn the orders and you can better avoid mistakes. It's as simple as that.
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC: Counselors and attorneys at Law
If you are interested in learning more about the Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC and the services we offer to families across southeast Texas please do not hesitate to contact us today. A consultation with our office is free of charge and are available six days a week. A family law case is not like any other legal proceeding you’ve ever been involved with and having a representative on your side who is experienced and understanding of the issues is critical.
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Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC | Houston, Texas Divorce Lawyers
The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Houston, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.
Our divorce lawyers in Houston TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan, PLLC handles Divorce cases in Houston, Texas, Cypress, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.