What’s the worst divorce advice you’ve ever heard? Divorce is never easy, and you might be surrounded by well-meaning friends and family who are trying to help you feel better. But remember, family law is a complex area of the law, and some of the advice you’re hearing might end up damaging your divorce proceedings.
Here’s a list of the worst divorce advice – don’t listen to anyone who tells you these!
The Worst Divorce Advice
Drag out the Divorce Process
It is natural to feel anger or resentment towards your ex and perhaps you want to make the process of divorce painful for them by trying to get as much as you can, or taking a really long time so that they have to pay more legal fees or so that they can’t marry a new partner. You have to think, who is this hurting in the long-term? If you have children, you’ll have to work out how to co-parent successfully, and being passive-aggressive or manipulative during this stage won’t help to establish a co-parenting relationship of mutual respect.
Get A Quick Divorce On The Internet
In some situations you may want to be rid of your spouse quickly so you can move on or heal, depending on where your head is at and your role in the split. You may be tempted by a DIY divorce, but the reality is that this will often cause more legal problems than it will solve. DIY divorces can’t handle arguments over how your assets and debts will be split and finalised or how your children and living arrangements will be handled. Nor can they handle questions that crop up during the process about medical attention for children, for example. An experienced lawyer will handle all of these issues for you.
Stop Contact Between The Children And Your Spouse
The Family Court of Australia stipulates that in the absence of violence or neglect, a child has the right to a relationship with both parents. Limiting or terminating contact between your children and your spouse for any reason concerning money, time, gifts or personal issues is going to fail because it almost inevitably won’t be in the best interests of your child. If there are issues between you and your spouse where children are concerned, mediators are a great resource to help communication and resolution.
Refuse to Pay Child Support or Minimise It
In 2015, a federal parliamentary inquiry recommended that parents who refuse to pay child support should be fined while those who waste children’s maintenance money should have the cash quarantined. The committee suggested that after-tax income — rather than gross income — be used to calculate each parent’s child support payments, to reflect the higher taxes paid by high-income parents. It highlights the problem of mothers who refuse to let a father see his children despite Family Court orders for shared custody. Under existing rules, the Child Support Agency can demand the father pay extra child support while the children are in the mother’s care.
The parliamentary committee has suggested that in such cases, the father be spared from paying extra child support until the custody dispute is resolved. In other words, both parents need to be willing to pay their share to support their children, and be sensible about how the money is spent. This is included in the list of worst divorce advice given, because in the process of trying to cut costs, you usually incur more.
Drag Your Children Into the Divorce
It is never in the child’s best interests to be told the intimate details of why you’re getting divorced, how much you hate your ex-spouse and why he/she is a horrible and nasty person. Instead, make it clear your child is loved. Kids assume that they are somehow to blame. If only they were more fun or better behaved, they believe, then surely their parents would still be together. As a result, self-esteem can plummet, notes Edward Teyber, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at California State University, San Bernadino, and author of Helping Children Cope With Divorce. You need to continually reassure your child that your divorce has nothing to do with her “lovability.”
Don’t fight in front of your kids. Heated conversations regarding unreliability or finances should take place on the phone when your kids aren’t around. Research has found that the most poorly adjusted kids of divorce are those exposed to ongoing parental battles. This is probably the number one on the list of worst divorce advice.
Stash some money on the side that your spouse doesn’t know about, so you have something to start with after your divorce.
While there is nothing wrong with having money available to support yourself after your divorce, hiding that money from your spouse, and pretending it is not there is fraud. The Family Law Act requires full and frank disclosure of the financial affairs of both partners who have to swear an oath and set out a complete statement of income, expenses, assets, financial resources and liabilities. The duty of disclosure is ongoing, so if there are changes in parties situations or facts come to light that were hidden even years after orders were made, then it can be a basis for asking the Court to change orders. The court in recent years has been very harsh on people who have not fully and frankly disclosed their proper financial position.
Become Verbally Abusive
Just about everyone who gets a divorce argues. Not everyone, however, engages in continuous verbal battles in which threats and vile accusations become routine forms of communication. Being on the receiving end of this abuse is demoralizing, especially when the threats raise the possibility of physical harm to you or your children.
You need to discuss any threats of this type with your lawyer, who can advise you on how to deal with them. Furthermore, if it is you who’s engaging in the verbal abuse, remember that your spouse can easily obtain an order of protection and any violation of this order can land you in jail.
At Mitchells Solicitors, we handle every case of divorce with empathy and compassion. We know that it’s a stressful time for everyone involved. We’d like to introduce you to Phillipa Kingswell, who is an Accredited Specialist in Family Law (Qld). Her passion is helping you through your divorce so that you can focus on moving forward.
We offer a free, 10-minute phone consultation. Contact us today.