Divorce (or the dissolution of marriage) is the termination of a marital union, the canceling and/or reorganizing of the legal duties and responsibilities of marriage, thus dissolving the bonds of matrimony between a married couple under the rule of law of the particular country and/or state. (Wikipedia)
The decision that your marriage has ended is one of the most stressful and difficult decisions you will have to make in your life. The death of a marriage can be a traumatic experience for some, for others it is a welcomed relief. Whichever the case may be for your particular situation, if you are considering the possibility of a divorce or your spouse has served you, seek the advice of someone who has gone through the process before. As an experienced attorney, I will represent your interests with compassion and professionalism, and give you the most cost effective advice to get you through this highly emotional and stressful process of divorce.
You most likely would never do your own dental work, or set your broken leg. Nor would most of you change the engine in your car, why would you try to get a divorce without consulting an attorney. I sat with a Fireman who was in my office recently to consult on a child support issue. I told him that I could put a fire out. Give me the water hose, and I can squirt water on the fire and eventually it will go out. He said, “It’s not that easy.” I told him that I know it would not be easy for me, it probably take me five times longer to get it done, I would probably be burned, but in the end, it should be out. He smiled because he understood that he could attempt to get his own legal work done but it would take him five times longer and he would most likely be burned.
Avoiding the Common Mistakes in Divorce
It is so easy to make a mistake that can have serious consequences when going through a divorce or child custody case. The following advice from Michael Costantino, a Florida based Divorce Attorney, can help you stay out of trouble and give you the foundation and understanding of the realities that may be encountered in the divorce, or child custody process.
Tip Number one: ALWAYS consult an attorney, even if you choose not to hire one. You will never know what you are missing until you have met with an experienced attorney. So many mistakes are made that have serious, long lasting, and costly ramifications by people who don’t seek legal counsel. Getting the advice is great, you will have some information. However, it is strongly recommended that you retain counsel. You wouldn’t do your own dental work, or change the engine in your car, why would you try to navigate the complexities of the divorce or child custody process. The amount you may spend on a retainer for an attorney is small compared to the mistakes that you may make without an attorney representing your best interests.
Tip Number two: Don’t take seriously what the other party has to say. In most cases, that person is trying to provoke a NEGATIVE EMOTIONAL RESPONSE. When he or she states “you’re not going to get alimony” or he or she states, “you will never see the children again,” doesn’t mean it is true. That person is just trying to create confusion and doubt. You should refer back to Tip number one; ALWAYS consult an attorney!
Tip Number three: Don’t listen to your friends or family when they tell you how your divorce or custody case “should” be, unless that person is a licensed Florida Attorney that regularly practices Family Law. Many people went through their cases in other states; some went through their cases when the laws in Florida were different. Their facts and circumstances do not apply to yours. Their opinions on how it should be may not always agree with the law. This in turn causes people, such as you, to take untenable positions that are contrary to the law.
Tip Number four: Don’t sign or agree to anything until you know what you are entitled to. Your signature may have significant legal ramification. Entering into an agreement without consulting an attorney can create more problems for you. This goes back to Tip Number one: ALWAYS consult an attorney!
Tip Number Five: Stop using drugs now. If you have the slightest thought that you may be heading into a custody case, STOP using drugs. You would think that this is advice that most people would do without being told, however, you would be surprised at how many times the following excuses are used: “I have to stop smoking, but it’s just weed”, or “it was just a little cocaine.” Your drug use will be exploited by the other party in court. Stop using now!
Tip Number Six: Don’t give cash for support payment. The best thing you can do is write a check. The check should be made to the person you are paying support to. In the memo section of the check should be the words “child support,” or “alimony” or both. Your payment can be considered a gift if the words support is not on the check. If you buy groceries, clothes, or things for the child, do not count that as support. You are better off just writing a check and giving to the other person and let them go ahead and buy the groceries or clothes. However, if they find themselves in dire straits, for instance, the electricity is about to shut off, and they need a payment now, get a receipt explaining what you are doing and make sure it is signed by the other person.
Tip Number Seven: Don’t get involved in useless emotional banter with your significant other, or people close to your significant other. You don’t want your words used against you in Court. This is not productive. As a matter of fact, many of these heated exchanges lead to domestic violence. It’s best to always say less, and walk away from confrontation.
Tip Number Eight: Don’t text message or e-mail something you do not want to come out in Court. This is the easiest form of evidence that can be admitted. Put a pass code on your phone and computer so that nobody but you can send an e-mail or text from your device. Do not let your current boyfriend or girlfriend send a text message to the person you are litigating with from your phone. The ugly text message sent from your phone will be considered your text message.
Tip Number Nine: You should always be aware of the pictures and videos of you that your friends, or family, are posting on Facebook, Twitter, and all the other Social Media sites. You don’t want uploaded to the web anything that may be damaging to you during a custody battle. Family and friends should be understanding of your plight, talk to them. By the way, if there is anything uploaded that may be embarrassing, now would be a good time to take it down. Also unfriend the person you are litigating with. This will help limit future embarrassing pictures or stories getting to the court.
Tip Number Ten: Dig into your joint finances sooner than later. You should know how much money you have, where it comes from, and where it goes. Gather documents, download statements, and make records of unknown account numbers. Any information you have can lead to potentially hidden assets or income.
Tip Number Eleven: Gather important documents and make copies. Some documents you just want to secure; Passports, birth certificates, and other original documents that are hard to replace. Get a safe deposit box or secure these important documents at a trusted friend or family member’s home.
Tip Number Twelve: Secure those personal items that you do not want to come up missing; jewelry, collectibles, family memorabilia, old photos, and anything else that you know if it was lost or stolen would cause you sorrow. Because unfortunately, there is nothing the court can do about missing or stolen property. These too should be secured in a safe deposit box or with a trusted friend or family member.
Tip Number Thirteen: Make a list of what you want from your divorce or custody case, as to the children, as to support, and why you think you deserve it. This will be a road map for you and your attorney. This list is something you should walk in with at your first strategy session, and may be modified after as you become familiar with what the law permits.
Trust an Experienced Divorce Attorney/Divorce Lawyer to handle your Divorce Case
Florida Law on divorce is not easy and has difficult rules and procedures. Do not do it alone. Michael Costantino, New Horizons Law, always offers a free consultation. There is no better way than sitting down face-to-face with Michael to learn what your rights are and to get what you deserve. If you are reading this I am sure you know someone, a friend or family member, that has a horror story regarding their own experience. That is why you should always consult an attorney that practices Divorces and Family Law and nothing else. Someone like Michael. At New Horizons Law we do not practice criminal law or elder law, or any other type of law. This is a Florida Divorce and Family Law practice that understands the laws completely, because we handle family law matters on a regular basis. I and my staff will always listen compassionately and attentively to your needs and concerns and provide you with the best advice for your particular case. Give us a call at 954-623-6445.