By Wendi Schuller
Your behaviour in divorce has an impact on its outcome.
Attempting to score points with verbal sparring against your opponent (spouse) may temporarily feel like a victory.
In reality, it raises legal fees and prolongs proceedings. Trading insults with each other distracts one from staying on task. Blow off negativity to friends before walking into a divorce session.
Do not sabotage your divorce by confiding its details to people who may not honour your confidentiality. Your divorce can become the subject of juicy gossip.
Instead, talk about your feelings or changes in your life, such as moving to a new place.
I messed up on this one. A few things I said during my divorce got back to my husband, who brought it up at a collaborative meeting. My solicitor told me to zip up my mouth. If you are friendly with your spouse’s co-workers or friends – divorce is not the time to divulge deep secrets.
Be discreet, so you do not learn this the hard way, as I did. Keeping quiet is especially critical if you both are in the same field. Disparaging remarks about your soon-to-be-ex, can damage their reputation or make encounters at professional events awkward.
The last thing you need during divorce is to be sued for slander.
Another problem area is revealing too much on social media.
This has been the cause for divorce when an unsuspecting spouse discovers the existence of a lover. Solicitors have used what someone has posted on social media during proceedings. This is particularly important when the amount of shared care is being determined.
Photos of a parent cavorting around at parties looking drunk, can make them appear a bit unstable. This can hurt when applying for jobs, as potential employers check Facebook and other sites. One may have strict privacy settings, however their friends may not. People can post pictures without your consent, so talk to friends about this issue.
Not being truthful on Form E with your financial disclosure can come back to haunt you. Hidden assets can be discovered by a forensic accountant which then has serious repercussions.
There have been big divorce cases in the news where one other spouse successfully sued for more assets when the other one lied about their wealth.
A monetary penalty can be given or a much bigger share of the hidden fund awarded to the spouse who sued for it. Being honest in the first place can avoid these legal entanglements during proceedings or months later when the financial discrepancy comes to light.
False allegations about the other party can backfire.
If abuse is even insinuated, it will be checked out. If one has lied, that may affect the financial outcome or shared time with kids.
Being perceived as unbalanced will not help your case. Some parents practice parental alienation to get the children on their side and the other parent out of the picture. This puts kids in a loyalty bind.
One father and his mother continually made nasty comments about the boys’ mum around them. He ended up with no overnights and more limited contact. Do not sabotage shared time with putdowns of the other parent, but rather say nothing at all.
It is to one’s advantage to get through divorce as quickly as possible in order to move on. Trying to drag it out so you can hang on to your spouse longer or punish them ends up hurting you.
A new chapter is about to begin.
Reframe your thoughts to accept opportunities coming your way rather than clinging to the past which can derail your divorce.