Divorce laws are meant to protect all parties to a divorce — you, your spouse and your children.
But to take advantage of those rules, you'll need to follow them yourself. That means taking your attorney's advice and keeping a cool head, no matter how angry you might get. Feelings of anger, rejection or fear are not excuses for bad behavior. Keep your emotions under control so that you can take advantage of all the legal rights offered by your state's divorce laws.
Here are some things you should never do:
- Move your minor child outside the jurisdiction of the court without the court's permission.
- Hide your minor children from your spouse or deny your spouse and minor children contact with each other. If you suspect abuse and fear your children aren't safe your spouse, have your attorney petition the courts and go through the proper channels to protect your children.
- Threaten or harass your spouse. Keep conflict out of your relationship with your spouse. Don't give him the opportunity to accuse you of making threats or harassing him. It's best to bite your tongue and keep your mouth shut if doing so will let you look squeaky clean in court.
- Destroy, damage or dispose of property owned by your spouse without your spouse's permission. Don't slash any tires, throw his clothes on the front lawn or give anything away to charity to get back at him. If you do, you will end up paying for it during settlement negotiations, or when you go to court.
- Use credit accounts that are in your spouse's name alone. It may be tempting to go on a shopping spree with his credit card, but doing so will backfire. Not only will it end up hurting you in the pocket book, but will also cause a judge to form a negative opinion. And that's definitely something you don't want.
- Disregard temporary court orders. Temporary court orders are in place to protect you and your spouse. If you don't do what a court has ordered, you risk losing your rights under the temporary order. Say, for example, your spouse is supposed to pay you child support and you're supposed to allow him certain visitation rights. Even if he fails to pay child support, you still shouldn't withhold visitation. Under the law, visitation and child support are two separate issues. If you refuse visitation you look as bad as he does, and you both end up losing the protection that temporary orders are meant to offer.
Cathy heads up About.com's Divorce Support Channel.
Survive the Unwritten Rules of Divorce Cases, By Cathy Meyer
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