9 Rules of Engagement for a California Divorce

9 Rules of Los Angeles DivorceCalifornia divorces can be smooth, diplomatic transitions or they can be tumultuous and emotionally charged. The divorce process for most divorcing couples is somewhere in the middle of that spectrum. However, when the process does take on an extreme form it is usually to the negative.

We are all unique individuals possessing unique life experiences. Some of us have experiences more challenging than the next person and  with that, some individuals having the privilege of knowing how to manage those challenges better than others. Romantic relationships often distract individuals from acknowledging and working on their personal, buried, emotional wounds. Consequently, during a break-up these unresolved issues will trigger intense emotions and inhibit logical thinking.

We understand the onslaught of inciting thoughts and emotions you may be facing. However,  for the greater good of everyone involved, including yourself,  conscious effort should made to keep the negativity in check. Easier said than done of course, right? But an experienced divorce lawyer with integrity will always do their best to assist in keeping your head cool and thoughts rational during the divorce process. Not only is keeping your cool the best decision morally, but also financially, potentially saving you significant money in the process.


Rules of Engagement for Divorcing Couples


1) Imagine Yourself as the Family Court Judge

While reading these divorce rules of engagement, if a scenario particular to yours is not covered,  consider how your decision or indecision will look to the judge. In sum,  do things that demonstrate how composed you are, have the best interest of the child in mind, and your ability to be diplomatic.  Displaying a lack of composure will only feed into the unfavorable narrative the opposing spouse/counsel could very well be trying to infer about you to the family law judge.


2) Be Cordial . Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy

Be polite and cordial at all times. Yes, you might feel anger or other negative feelings toward your spouse. And yes, your divorcing spouse could be trying to bait you into getting triggered but don’t fall for the bait!  Do your best to refrain from arguments.  Be more kind than is expected. Utter words or actions that are less than cordial an you will be gambling against achieving the best possible settlement and personal outcome.


3) Kids Come First in Divorce- Always

If a children are involved do everything afforded to you to make sure their quality of life is optimal.. even if your spouse is being rude to you or trying to push your buttons. All family court decisions are centered on the well being of the children. Don’t cancel their babysitter, internet, medication, or any of that. Not only would you come off as a jerk to the family law court, but it is imperative you do all that is necessary to show you are prioritizing the mental, physical, and emotional health  of the child(ren) in everything you do.


4) Keep Conversations Short and Concise

Be cordial remember? Keep the conversations short and practical. Don’t get lost in small talk. If you must decide to drop off the kids or pick up personal items, make the arrangements, keep it polite and to the point. Don’t ask any prying questions, whether positive or negative, about someone they might be dating or any matter that is not relevant to the immediate task at hand.


5) Don’t’ Talk with Divorcing Spouse’s Family or Friends

Remember that everyone can be used as a witness against you. It’s a strong probability that you have become close to your divorcing spouse’s friends and family but even if you trust them, it best not to not talk with them about anything even remotely related to the divorce or your past relationship with your spouse. In fact, you should  be mindful if they happen to engage you in conversation outside of their normal frequency, topic, and style.


6)  Don’t’ Cancel Any Health Plans, Insurance Plans, or the Like.

Not only will cancelling your spouse’s car insurance, health plans, or similar type subscriptions present you as a spiteful person to the judge, it will also make you liable. If you cancel your spouse’s car insurance and they get into an accident, guess whose pocket that’s coming out of? Consult with your highly experienced divorce lawyer to coordinate the best time to disengage such critical health and financial subscriptions.


7) Don’t’ Show Up Unannounced

Showing up unannounced can surprise anyone. Consider the climate of a pending divorce and that surprise visit, regardless of intention, can be perceived in a negative way. Don’t gamble with an unannounced visit to your spouse’s home, work, or other space you know they frequent. In most cases this type of unannounced visit will be used to support any unfavorable narrative the opposing counsel might be trying to create about you.


8) Don’t Destroy Your  Divorcing Spouse’s Property

This overlaps with the rules about being cordial and only partaking in actions and words that will win you favor in the eyes of the court. Not destroying your spouse’s property and refraining from escalating drama during the divorce process should be common sense but it merits being stated and emphasized. Treat their property with extra care and make effort to return their property when and where it is appropriate and of course with consensual communicated beforehand.


9) Keep Notes on All Interactions

Keeping notes will give you the advantage when it comes to hashing out the details of your divorce or custody issue, and are critically effective should your family law scenario be a contentious one.  Assuming you have a competent divorce or family law attorney, noting what your divorcing spouse is saying and doing can give your attorney the insights he/she needs to create the best strategy possible to achieve the best outcome for you. Winning full child custody and revealing undocumented income sources for Spousal or Child support cases are just a couple examples of what can be accomplished by take good notes of your interactions.


8)  Seek Spiritual or Mental Grounding

Divorce ranks up there as one of the most challenging moments in a person’s life. You are tasked with having to transition into a new stage of your life while facing the intense, diverse emotion, and self-judgment that usually comes with it. Even if you are not a spiritual or religious person, having a reliable person to hear you out, help ground your emotions, and keep you centered with good reason is to the benefit of your mental, physical, and financial well-being.  So during the divorce process be sure to take care of yourself and stay in touch with your priest, rabbi, or therapist.








About the author

Charles M. Green is Certified as a Family Law Specialist through the Board of Legal Specialization of the State Bar of California. He has worked extensively in both the financial fields and as a litigation attorney specializing in Family Law Cases.He is also diversely experienced in a number of other practice areas of importance to individuals and families. You can find him on Google+