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Common Mistakes People Make During a Divorce
Updating all of your social media accounts...all the time
Controversy has become synonymous with social media. Not only do ordinary people lose their jobs or reputations off what is posted online- your divorce proceedings could be affected as well. Taking pictures of you and your friends after a night of partying is definitely not going to enforce the idea that you are a responsible parent, neither do your, "What happened last night?" status updates. Keep your social media accounts clean, and unless its really brag worthy (got a raise?) don't post it. While we're at it, don't badmouth your ex on your accounts either. No jury wants to grant favor to the ex that is rude and dismissive.
Division of debts
When considering a divorce both parties will immediately consider who gets the material things- like the house, custody of the children, pets etc. But what about the things that are intangible- yet still have a profound impact on your life? Just as assets are divided during a divorce so are debts. The mortgage, student loans and any other outstanding debt you have can be evenly divided between both parties if it is not settled on beforehand. Be sure to specify who takes care of what debts.
Having bad credit
If you do not retain custody of the house or shared property such as a car, you will need credit to secure housing or transportation for yourself. Be thrifty with your money and be sure to protect your credit before and after the divorce process.
Not considering your tax obligations
Past paying or receiving alimony and child support, divorce is a gigantic financial game-changer. You must consider who will be able to claim the children and their expenses as a dependent. Also keep in mind that although child support is not taxed as income, spousal support is. If you are unclear in your divorce proceedings what any money may be used for the courts may consider it spousal support and slap you with the tax bill. Also consider taxes on your house that may be passed along to you.
Moving out before the divorce is finalized
It can be tempting to want to leave the house- but being gregarious can backfire in a divorce proceeding. Do not appear unwillingly to settle or communicate as this can work against you. Many times when one party leaves the household (or leaves the children behind) it can be spun as abandonment and a disinterest in their upbringing, so try to find alternative resolutions before leaving.
Splitting up the "extras"
Things like extra curricular activities, doctor visits and copays can all be shared between the parties even if you have sole custody. Many children play sports or at one point would like braces or need extensive dental care- be sure to accommodate for these other extra expenses and determine how the costs will be divided between the two parties
Fighting over things that don't matter
Your flat screen is replaceable- the lawyer's time and your finances? Not so much. Argue about the things that truly matter in the bigger picture and your quality of life. Also- if you two can come to an agreement outside of the court and only use an attorney for mediation in a uncontested divorce, it will save you both a lot of time, money and anguish. Lawyers don't need to handle a nasty divorce- they can help you draw up a comprehensive plan outside of the courts for your finances, children and retirement.
Lying- Don't do it
Things like domestic abuse, infidelity and violence are considered pretty heavily in a divorce proceeding. Drug abuse or a dirty, unsanitary home can also put a would-be parent in a bad light- but lying about any of these behaviors is just as bad. Don't lie about your income or about your spouse's behavior. Once a jury can prove you lied they won't want to consider anything you have to say that's true. Preserve the jury's respect for you by being cordial, open to communication and honest about your relationship and assets. Vindictive parties will rarely win a divorce proceeding.
Arizona recognizes what is termed a "covenant marriage," which is a higher standard of marriage. Unlike no-fault, where the grounds for the dissolution of the marriage are irretrievable breakdown, covenant marriages may be ended on grounds of 1) adultery, 2) conviction of a felony which mandates prison or death; 3) abandonment for more than one year, 4) commission of domestic violence against the spouse, child or relative, 5) living separately and continuously and without reconciliation for over two years, 6) living separately for over 1 year after a legal separation is obtained; 7) habitual use of drugs and alcohol, or 8) both spouses agree to the dissolution.
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