A divorce, for most people, is a pivotal and life-changing experience. It is an event that can have dramatic ramifications on your future, both financially and emotionally. Yet, while you are in the throes of the divorce, it is important to remember that the way you conduct yourself in your divorce may have consequences after the divorce is final. Be certain to review the following issues with your divorce attorney, and always ensure you consider the risks before you engage in specific conduct, or prepare court filings, that could affect your future.
Divorce Pleadings Are Public Record
What you say in a divorce pleading can and may be held against you. While you indeed want to zealously advocate for yourself, and want your attorney to do the same, be aware that what you write in your pleadings is a public record. If someone wants to access your divorce file—unless it’s officially sealed—they can. Consider whether a discussion about your spouse’s sexual escapades is actually relevant. Consider whether discussing private information about your children is necessary to your case. Once a divorce pleading is submitted to the court it is extremely difficult to seal it.
You Still Need to Co-Parent After the Divorce
Even when the divorce is over, and you and your former spouse have signed, sealed and delivered your judgment of dissolution to the court, the two of you still must co-parent your children together. If you decided to engage in a “scorched earth” method of litigation during your divorce process, you may have a difficult time co-parenting with your spouse. All of a sudden, seemingly innocuous decisions like which extra-curricular activity your child may participate in, or which math tutor they should use, may become difficult and challenging with your spouse if you battled and hurt them so badly during the divorce proceeding that they want to dispute everything. Even when the dust settles, you are still a family.
It Will Cost You
Divorce can be expensive. An experienced and skilled attorney can guide clients and assist them in making decisions as to just how much certain issues will cost; not just on the basis of time or on an emotional level, but monetarily too. Work with your attorney and determine what is most important to you. Pick your battles. Think of your divorce like a business decision and be thoughtful and diligent in your litigation. Life must go on after divorce, and it is important for parties to have the money to (for example) send their children to college, to travel, and to have enough savings for retirement.
Clients and attorneys who work together strategically improve the likelihood that life will continue and thrive, emotionally and financially, even after the life detour of a divorce.