It is common and understandable to want to take steps to protect yourself financially when you know a divorce is inevitable. Most people have heard stories of married folks who lose much of their net worth in divorce.
However, a lot of people attempting to protect themselves in the days and weeks leading up to a divorce can do far more harm than good. New Jersey does everything it can to make divorce fair for everyone involved, including attempting to split assets fairly.
The steps you take in an attempt to protect yourself or your assets could violate state law and leave you vulnerable to a less favorable outcome in your divorce. Avoiding these classic divorce blunders can help ensure a smoother transition when you end your marriage.
Don’t just lock your ex out of the house
If today is the day your ex will receive divorce paperwork service, you might anticipate an angry confrontation. While it is totally natural to want to avoid an altercation with your spouse, you can’t summarily kick them out of the home that they helped pay for and are on the deed or mortgage for.
Unless you secure an order of protection that bars them from entering your home or own the house in your name only, changing the locks and attempting to kick them out violates their property rights. It can also help build a case against you in the divorce that could impact how the courts rule on important issues, such as how they divide your assets or who retains the house in the long run.
Don’t ignore the temporary custody order terms
You probably aren’t enthusiastic about the idea of sharing the custody of your children with your ex. Most divorcing couples aren’t thrilled about the prospect of co-parenting. However, that doesn’t mean that you can refuse your ex visitation or otherwise interfere in their relationship with your children.
Doing so could have a negative impact on the final custody proceedings in your divorce. The courts may view your refusal as a form of parental alienation or custodial interference. The courts typically frown on that behavior and may allocate more parental rights to your ex as a result.
Don’t attempt to hide assets or closed shared accounts
While closing shared financial accounts is a part of divorce, it has to happen in a reasonable manner that doesn’t punish or financially imperil either spouse. Simply turning off your ex’s debit card or credit card could have repercussions as the divorce proceeds. That could impact the asset division process and influence the way the courts view you and your requests.
The best way to begin planning for an upcoming divorce is to sit down with an attorney and talk about your legal situation before you take any steps that could hurt your case.