Many men make mistakes or fail to take certain steps to position themselves for a fair shake in divorce, custody and child support. Below are ten of the most common mistakes:
1. Don’t flaunt your new girlfriend in front of your wife and kids. Hell hath no fury like a scorned woman.
2. Don’t hide assets or transfer property. When the other attorney finds it, and the judge discovers you did it, you might end up forfeiting all of the assets. The judge will not be impressed and your credibility will be shot with your spouse, your own lawyer and opposing counsel.
3. Don’t just decide one day to get divorced. It is a long process that requires goal setting, strategy and financial planning. Make sure you know that this is what must happen, and that you have exhausted all other options, before you act to get divorced.
4. Don’t underestimate your wife. Women are smarter than their husbands give them credit for in many instances. Women file two-thirds of all divorces. If your marriage is bad and divorce has been seriously threatened, assume she’s plotting and planning and protect yourself.
5. Don’t badmouth your wife in front of the kids. First of all, it is hurtful and confusing for your children. Secondly, your kids should never have to choose sides. Lastly, if the judge finds out you have done this, it can hurt you badly in court.
6. Don’t badmouth your wife to the judge. Parental alienation is the surest way to lose custody. The court is looking for which adult will foster cooperation, not who will be the first to disparage the other parent. You have to persuade peacefully in the courtroom and not look like a bomb thrower.
7. Don’t allow your wife to “work out the details.” Far too many men fail to hire their own legal counsel, trusting that their spouse’s lawyer will be fair and decent. You have to get your own attorney. Even if you do not want the divorce, you have to protect yourself.
8. Don’t be just a provider, be a dad. The court is not likely to award you custody because of your fabulous job and ability to lavish your child with money and gadgets. All work and no time for parenting only assures that you will have to continue working to pay all that child support. You have to be involved by spending time with your kids and being an active parent.
9. Don’t fight over stuff that doesn’t matter. Are you incurring legal fees just to spite the other spouse? Are you missing the big picture, like custody of your kids, the home equity, joint debts and retirement funds? You have to stay focused on what is important and not get distracted on the drama of the fight.
10. Don’t get physical. Don’t yell or make threats. Any incidents of domestic violence or any behavior that smacks of “anger management issues” will be extremely detrimental, especially in custody determination. Or worse, she can get a restraining order against you before the divorce even begins, which can get you thrown out of the house and all but elimintate your chances of getting custody.
More information on this topic can be found at stangelawfirm.com.