We recently published a blog about the mistakes not to make when you’ve been arrested. Other than a criminal case, getting a divorce may be one of the toughest things you ever have to go through. There’s a lot on the line – your children, your financial stability, your home. Because of this, emotions run high. And as such, mistakes can be made. Here, we talk about some of the most common mistakes people make when getting divorced in New York.
Mistake #1: Not having realistic expectations about divorce
You cannot expect your life to go un-changed if you get divorced. You may incur debt. Or you may have child support or maintenance payments. And your expenses may increase now that you’re not sharing the financial burden with a spouse.
Planning for life after your divorce is important. Discuss your plans with your attorney so you know what to request in your divorce settlement. Know what’s really important to you to move forward after your divorce, rather than focusing on trivial items. Take the time to analyze your individual situation, and approach things as rationally and un-emotionally as possible.
Mistake #2: Reading your spouse’s email
Reading your spouse’s email after a divorce has been filed may be illegal. It can be a crime – even if your spouse previously gave you his/her password or permission to access the account. Once the divorce is filed, your spouse has revoked consent for you to access his/her email. You may think there is good evidence in your spouse’s email account. But you should let your attorney work on getting access to those emails the legal way.
This applies even if you don’t physically type in your spouse’s username and password to access the email account. For example, if your phone is set to automatically download his/her emails, turn off that feature. Do not access your spouse’s emails through the cloud. And don’t log in to his/her email just because the password was saved.
Mistake #3: Bad-mouthing your spouse to the kids
Parental alienation is interfering with your spouse’s relationship with your children. The biggest issue with this is it is hurting your children, as if divorce weren’t already tough on them. Parental alienation includes the following actions:
- Asking the child to choose one parent over another
- Using the child to get information on the other parent
- Placing blame on the other parent for things, such as the divorce
- Discussing the other parent in a negative way with the child
- Interfering with visitation or phone calls
In your divorce proceeding, the judge may see this as a sign you’re not a good parent. This may affect your visitation with and custody of your children. It may also make the judge just not like you. And of course, it will aggravate your relationship with your soon-to-be ex.
Mistake #4: Sharing too much information on social media
Sometimes, you just need to vent about your divorce. But the place to do that is with a therapist or a trusted friend or family member – not on social media. And if you’re posting anything illegal, immoral, or otherwise unsavory, your spouse may be viewing these posts and turning them over to his/her lawyer. Your social media could even demonstrate your financial situation, who you’re spending your time with, and much more.
It may be surprising, but your posts on social media may actually be used in your divorce proceeding. As long as the posts are obtained legally and not through fraud, this may be admissible evidence. Any public posts and photos are fair game. Even if you post something privately, if it is re-shared by a friend it may then be considered public.
Mistake #5: Not listening to your attorney
You may think you know your spouse. And you may think you know how to handle your divorce. But this is a complicated legal proceeding that should be based on the law and facts, not on emotions. Listen to your attorney’s advice. If you don’t, you may end up losing your money, your property, and even access to your children. Your attorney will help you avoid the above mistakes and other pitfalls common in divorce.
Contact us today if you’re considering a divorce or have been served with divorce papers. The lawyers at Pappalardo & Pappalardo, LLP will work with the team at Guttridge & Cambereri, P.C. to provide you the answers to all your matrimonial and family law questions.
- J.F. v. D.F., 61 Misc.3d 1226 (Monroe Cty. Sup. Ct. 2019) (Dollinger, J.). Available at: https://casetext.com/case/jf-v-df (last accessed Aug. 14, 2020).
Jaliz Maldonado, “Family Law: Social Media Evidence in Divorce Cases,” The National Law Review (Feb. 14, 2019). Available at: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/family-law-social-media-evidence-divorce-cases (last accessed Aug. 14, 2020).