Updated: Sep 24
Divorce is messy. Don't make it messier. Here are some common ways that people inadvertently hurt their Los Angeles divorce cases.
1. Acting Out of Spite It's natural to feel hurt, sad, and angry, but as the old saying goes, holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Don't let these emotions guide your legal decision making.
Be strategic to get the best possible deal, but don't let knee-jerk reactions lead to bad decisions. The idea is not how to destroy, but how to move forward.
This is especially important when a divorce involves kids. With joint custody and shared parenting time, you will need to co-parent with your ex. Kids pick up on additional hostility. Children need to see their parents working cooperatively, calmly, and with focus. They need stability.
2. Taking Bad Advice
About 40-50% of marriages end in divorces. Chances are, you know someone who has been through the process. People in your life will eagerly offer their advice.
No matter how well-intentioned, advice from friends and family can hurt your case. Every case is different, so a strategy that worked for someone else may actually damage your case. Some advice, like hiding income or transferring assets can backfire horribly.
Before you do anything, consult your divorce attorney. When hiring an attorney, look for someone who practices exclusively family law. California family law is technical and specific. It operates by its own set of rules, and it's much different from other areas of law.
One hopes to not need a doctor or a lawyer, but if you need one, you need the best you can afford. A bad doctor or bad lawyer is worse than none.
While a do-it-yourself approach is ideal in some divorces, it can significantly damage other divorces. The likelihood of mistakes increases along with the complexity. Even when a divorce is fairly straightforward, you want to make sure it's done properly.
Can you apply legal strategies on your own? Frankly, it's usually too complicated for clients to do on their own. Law is complex, and there are strategic realties. Much like chess, the same move played at one point wins the game or played a step too late can lose the game.
Divorce attorneys are experienced in parenting issues, property division, income and support, dispute resolution, and more. A good divorce attorney will hold your hand make you feel safe and not feel threatened. People tend to fight because they feel scared. When people feel scared, they suffer more tunnel vision and have less ability to see options. The right divorce attorney is critical.
4. Trying to Hide Assets or Income
First, hiding assets or income in a divorce is illegal. You should not do anything illegal.
That said, some people are tempted to hide their assets or income. They think they are outsmarting the system. No matter how shrewd you think you are, if you try this, you’ll most likely be found out. If your spouse has a lawyer, they’ve probably been through this before and know where to look.
If you are found to have been untruthful about your assets and hide them from your ex, it will destroy your credibility in court and give the other party an advantage.
5. Acting Out on Social Media
One of the worst things you can do in a divorce case is acting out on social media. When emotions are flaring, it may be tempting to post or to reveal what you might perceive to be the truth. But these posts can be used as evidence, and even if you delete an impulsive post, we live in an era of screen shots. Never use social media when you are feeling angry or depressed.
In a divorce, you're trying to establish a positive image of yourself to the court. If child custody is an issue, you want to portray yourself as responsible, mature, and acting in your child's best interest. A Los Angeles judge is unlikely to find that trashing your ex on social media is in your child's best interest.
There are also situations where a seemingly harmless post can hurt your case. These can include posts about your children, their activities, your purchases, lifestyle, vacations, and social life. Even if you aren't posting about your ex, an otherwise innocuous post can hurt your case in unexpected ways.
In some cases, we recommend temporarily suspending use of social media. If you do use social media during your divorce, a good rule is not to post anything you wouldn't want the judge to see. Assume your post is going to show up in your case.
The Law Office of Emily E. Rubenstein is a full service divorce and family law firm. We proudly serve Beverly Hills, West Hollywood, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Culver City, the South Bay, Glendale, Pasadena, Sherman Oaks, Studio City, Encino and all of Los Angeles County.
Give us a call or check out our website:
(310) 750-0827 | www.emilyrubensteinlaw.com