What NOT to do before filing for divorce

The number of divorce filings typically spikes after the New Year as many unhappy couples choose to spend one last holiday season together — usually for the sake of their children — before ending their marriages.

Now that the holiday season is long gone, many Texas residents are preparing to file for divorce. If you are one of them, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do avoid having the process turn into a complex legal battle.

From a family law attorney’s perspective, there are things you can do to prepare, but perhaps more importantly, there are things you should not do, including:

Don’t start spending money as a way to get even.

The more you spend during now, the less there will be to go around when assets are divided. Additionally, many people end up having to tighten their budgets after a divorce, so now is a good time to start spending more conservatively.

Don’t badmouth your ex on social media.

Social media is used by many as a place to vent frustrations, but this can be a huge mistake. Anything you post can easily be saved and used as evidence in your case, and family law judges look down on people who use social media to slander their exes.

Don’t think you can handle your divorce without professionals.

While it is true that you can go through divorce pro se, or without a lawyer, you really don’t want to unless you have very few assets and no children. Your lawyer will make sure you get a fair settlement, and that is something you only get one shot at.

Don’t leave your soon-to-be ex as your beneficiary.

In other words, change the beneficiary designations on your life insurance, pension, retirement account or savings bonds if you no longer want your spouse named. Although, keep in mind that some people agree to leave their exes as beneficiaries in the divorce settlement as a way to guarantee child support or alimony.

Don’t forget that if you have children together, this isn’t the end.

All too often, parents going through divorce forget that they will have to continue to raise their children together. Therefore, it’s best to explore less-contentious options like negotiation and mediation — and remember to put your children’s needs first.

Preparing to file for divorce can be a stressful and emotional time. Make sure you understand your position and your legal rights by meeting with an experienced family law attorney in your area.

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