To preface this article on preparing for divorce, I should first make it clear that this blog post strictly addresses actions you can take (or not take) to give yourself the best possible advantage once you and your partner begin the process of divorce.
Of course, divorce can be an incredible emotional strain on everyone involved – there is no doubt about that. This piece is simply a practical (and basic) guide for steps you can take to give yourself as much of a leg up as possible.
Prepare for Your Dark Secrets to Come Out into the Open
Your partner was supposedly the closest person in your life, and now this person – who knows so much about you – wants the best “deal” he/she can get and will likely not hesitate to attempt to use leverage to accomplish that goal.
This means it is likely that many of your dark secrets will suddenly come out into the open, and you should certainly prepare by hiring an attorney and informing your attorney of any potential problems.
In my decades of experience as a divorce attorney, I’ve seen cases become very nasty; people fight over assets, cash and custody of the children. That’s why it’s important to look honestly at every aspect of your life that could potentially be used against you and take measures to lessen the impact of those things.
As soon as you enter into a divorce proceeding, you are under a microscope. Everything you’ve been hiding may come back to haunt you. If you have a habit of doing anything that might not look good to a judge – stop doing it!
Here are some examples:
- Excessive use of alcohol.
- Use of drugs (yes, marijuana is legal in the State of Colorado; however, in my experience, most judges do not look favorably on recreational marijuana use so it is best to take a break until your divorce is finalized).
- Taking money under the table (if you’re a business owner or freelancer).
- Affairs or an open marriage (some judges will not like it if you’re sleeping with people other than your spouse. They’ll also be concerned that you are spending free-time away from the children or spending money on this other person).
- Regular visits to a strip club, or watching porn regularly.
- Irresponsible driving.
- Excessive spending.
- Cheating on taxes.
Anything that could compromise your ability to be a good parent or that puts you in a bad light should be stopped right away.
During Divorce, You are Under a Microscope
I had one client who had a terrible driving record. He didn’t have any DUI’s or accidents, but he had a “lead foot”; he just loved to drive very fast, so he received speeding tickets regularly.
During his divorce proceeding, he had a child in the back seat of the car. The child did something to distract him, and they ended up in a minor fender-bender.
Because of his poor driving record, his wife tried to restrict his parenting time. She claimed that because he drives this way and because he had an accident with a child in the car, he shouldn’t have as much time with the children... and it almost worked.
Before you do anything questionable, ask yourself, “What would a judge think of me doing this right now?” If the answer is anything less than the judge would clearly approve, don’t do it. You’ll thank yourself later.If you’re getting ready to go through a divorce, it’s imperative that you seek legal counsel. Call our office at 303-449-1873 to set up a free consultation.