By Matt Ingham, Bulldog Divorce
#7 SPEAK OUT OF TURN DURING COURT. Each judge has a system, and that system is their way of maintaining orderliness in their courtroom. Honor the system, or you may damage your credibility with the judge.
#6 ASSUME YOUR SPOUSE’S SILENCE MEANS AGREEMENT. A woman left her soon-to-be ex-husband a voicemail, telling him she would not sign the Agreed Decree for divorce because its terms were unfair. She requested extra time to file a response. Although her husband did not return her call, she was absolutely certain he would grant her the extra time.
Instead of granting her the extra time, her husband proceeded with forging the woman’s signature on the Agreed Decree, hoping it would be finalized and he would be able to enforce its unfair terms against the woman.
What is the point of this story? Do not assume your spouse’s silence means he/she is in agreement with you.
#5 FAIL TO FULLY RETAIN YOUR DIVORCE ATTORNEY. Your divorce case will be fact-intensive and will involve time. Once you get to the half-way point of the divorce process, your attorney will be intricately involved.
Fully retain your attorney, or you may have to find a new attorney, which would set your case back significantly.
#4 USE PROFANITY IN THE COURTROOM. Inside of the courtroom, there is a high level of decorum that the judge’s bailiff, the judge’s clerk, and the judge himself will expect you to honor. Refrain from using profanity in the courtroom.
#3 HOLD YOUR CHILD FOR RANSOM. You may have heard of a case like this: Per a Temporary Agreement, mom has custody of her six-year-old son, and dad, who lives out of state, gets him during school breaks and holidays. Everything goes okay until the end of Christmas break, when dad fails to show up at the agreed-upon meeting point to return son to mom. Dad won’t return mom’s frantic phone calls. Dad calls mom the next day, saying son will be living with him, and if she wants to see him again, she will have to agree to new terms.
At the point when dad uttered those words, he committed Contempt of Court. Withholding your child from your spouse in exchange for more favorable terms is against the law and will be punished. Do not hold your child for ransom against your spouse!
#2 DO SOMETHING DRASTIC. Here is a checklist of “drastic” mistakes spouses sometimes make:
- Leave a voicemail, or send an e-mail or note to your child, bad-mouthing their mom/dad.
- Bribe your child (candy, an X-box 360, etc.) so that the child will tell the judge he wants to live with you.
- Hide, or ask a friend to hide, your marital assets.
- Hire a friend/co-worker to spy on your spouse.
- Forge signatures/documentation.
When in doubt about the proper action, always ask your divorce attorney.
#1 LIE TO THE JUDGE WHILE UNDER OATH.