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9 Rules of Engagement for a California Divorce

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

Every person is a unique individual possessing unique life experiences. Some of us have may challenging experiences more intense than the average person. With that, some individuals, through experience, have an advantage of knowing how to manage those challenges better than others. Romantic relationships often distract individuals from acknowledging and working on their personal, buried insecurities, childhood traumas. 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 must be made to keep 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  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 your composure,  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 create about you.


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

Be polite and cordial at all times. Sure, you might feel anger and other negative feelings toward your spouse. And yes, your divorcing spouse could be trying to bait you into becoming uncomposed but don’t fall for it.  Do your best to refrain from arguments.  Be more kind than is expected. Uttering words or displaying actions that are less than cordial will have you gambling against achieving the best possible settlement and outcome for your case. This goes for text and social media posting and messages as well.


3) Kids Come First in Divorce—Always

If 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 family law judge, but it is imperative you do everything 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 conversations short and practical. Don’t get lost in small talk. If you must decide on dropping off the kids or picking up personal items, make the arrangements, keep it polite and to the point. Do not 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, everyone can be used as a witness against you. It is a strong probability that you’ve become close to your divorcing spouse’s friends and family. 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. You should be mentally vigilant, keeping in mind the possibility that they may engage you in conversation outside of their normal frequency, topic, and style to fish for information. Be especially careful on text, social media platforms, posts, and messaging. Screenshots from “friends” and fake profiles are are now commonplace in California family law court hearings.


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 may be trying to form 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 restated 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 communication 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. They will come in valuable should your family law scenario become contentious.  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 thoughts and emotions that usually comes with it. Even if you are not a spiritual or religious person, having a reliable person to hear you out and help keep you emotionally and emotionally centered is to the benefit of your divorce case and your future. Be sure to take care of yourself and stay in communication with your priest, rabbi, therapist, or good friend during this sensitive time.

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