Divorce is a challenging time, filled with emotional turmoil and difficult decisions. While navigating the legal process, it’s essential to be aware of certain pitfalls that can have lasting consequences. In Mississippi, there are specific warnings that clients at Chinn & Associates should heed to ensure a smoother divorce journey. Let’s explore some crucial factors to consider that can greatly impact the outcome of your divorce proceedings.
- The Adultery Trap
- Prioritize Your Safety
- Seek Professional Guidance
- Condonation and Forgiveness
- The Impact of Social Media
- Health and Safety First
- Protect Your Assets
- Financial Awareness
- Surveillance Considerations
- Estate Planning and Documentation
- The Digital Trail
- Tax Matters
- Be Careful What You Say
- Full Disclosure with Your Attorney
- Safeguard Your Privacy
The Adultery Trap
One common misconception among clients is that it’s acceptable to date someone while separated and pursuing a divorce. However, it’s crucial to understand that dating during this period is considered adultery in Mississippi. Engaging in such conduct can have significant consequences, depending on the state you reside in. Even if there is some form of agreement with your spouse, but the divorce has not yet been finalized, dating is still considered adultery. This can lead to a blow-up in negotiations or a revocation of any agreements reached. Moreover, it may be too soon for your soon-to-be-ex-spouse to handle, potentially leading to retaliation.
Prioritize Your Safety
During a difficult and emotionally charged divorce, it’s essential to take steps to avoid confrontations and abusive situations. It’s not uncommon for individuals to provoke arguments, hoping to incite their spouse into physical aggression. This manipulative tactic is utilized to have the other spouse arrested and gain an advantage in the divorce proceedings. To protect yourself, it’s crucial to practice conflict avoidance and withdrawal whenever a confrontation arises. If withdrawal is not possible, leave the premises immediately. In cases where danger is imminent, do not hesitate to contact the police. It is also helpful to inform local authorities about the situation in advance, requesting them to be on standby if needed. Ensure you have contact information for local abuse centers readily available in case of emergencies. If you experience emotional or physical abuse, seek counseling and report incidents to your healthcare provider.
Seek Professional Guidance
Going through a divorce is an arduous emotional experience, and it’s essential not to face it alone. Seeking the guidance of a marriage and family counselor can provide invaluable support during this challenging time. Divorce entails complex financial and legal matters, and having a professional by your side can help you make informed decisions.
Condonation and Forgiveness
In states where “fault,” such as adultery, is a relevant factor in divorce, it’s important to understand the concept of condonation. Condonation occurs when the offended spouse has welcomed the offending spouse back into the marriage after becoming aware of the fault. Typically, resuming sexual relations is considered a sufficient act of forgiveness. In many states, this legalizes the previously considered fault. It’s crucial to be aware that some unscrupulous spouses may intentionally woo their way back into the bedroom solely to eliminate fault grounds for divorce.
In the age of social networking, it’s crucial to exercise extreme caution when it comes to online activities. Be mindful of what you post on platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Avoid incriminating pictures or posts that may be used against you during divorce proceedings. Remember the cautionary tale of Michael Phelps, whose previously pristine image was tarnished by an iPhone photo capturing him smoking marijuana at a party. Entire custody cases have been jeopardized by careless online postings, so think twice before clicking that “post” button.
Health and Safety First
Amidst the emotional turmoil of divorce, it’s crucial to prioritize your health. Regularly visit your doctor to monitor your overall well-being, ensuring you have no preexisting conditions that may complicate the divorce process. Maintain your physical and mental health so that you can navigate the challenges ahead effectively.
Protect Your Assets
When contemplating divorce, it’s crucial to be vigilant about safeguarding your financial assets and liabilities. Joint accounts, such as savings, checking, or stock accounts, represent potential risks. Depending on the specifics of your situation, seeking legal advice on how to handle these accounts may be prudent. Similarly, exercise caution with credit cards and lines of credit, considering whether they should be cut off to avoid potential misuse. Any actions taken should be assessed by an attorney to ensure compliance with the law.
Divorce is not only an emotional matter but also a financial one. Educate yourself about your finances, gather financial information, and familiarize yourself with the details of your marital assets and liabilities. Acquiring this knowledge will prove invaluable in making informed decisions during the divorce process.
If you suspect your spouse of adultery, it’s essential not to confront them directly. Instead, consult with an attorney to determine the appropriateness of surveillance in your situation. However, always be aware that your actions may also be subject to surveillance. Be cautious in all your activities to avoid compromising your position.
Estate Planning and Documentation
It’s important to review and update your estate planning documents and beneficiary designations during divorce proceedings. Failure to make these changes can lead to unintended consequences, as seen in cases where former spouses received life insurance proceeds over new spouses due to neglected beneficiary designations. Ensure you update your wills, living trusts, durable powers of attorney, and advanced healthcare directives to reflect your current circumstances.
The Digital Trail
Times have changed, and evidence can now easily be found on home computers. Emails, visited websites, and other online activities may hold valuable information that can support your case. Conversely, remember not to upload anything that could be used against you. Familiarize yourself with the laws protecting computer privacy to ensure compliance.
When dealing with marital troubles, exercise caution when filing tax returns. Mistakes or fraudulent filing of joint tax returns can result in liability for actions you did not commit. Additionally, your spouse may file early and take deductions that were available to you. To navigate the complex tax landscape during divorce, consult with a certified public accountant (CPA) to gain clarity and make informed decisions.
Be Careful What You Say
During this emotionally charged period, avoid admitting fault or speaking ill of your spouse. It’s common for individuals to express regret or apologize for their shortcomings as a spouse, but such statements can be used against you in court. Do not discuss your case with anyone unless necessary, as rumors can easily spread. Above all, refrain from disclosing any discussions with your attorney, as this information may reach your spouse through unintended channels.
Full Disclosure with Your Attorney
To protect your interests fully, it is crucial to be transparent and honest with your attorney. Disclose any dark secrets or embarrassing details that could potentially impact your case. With all the information at hand, your attorney can develop a robust strategy to safeguard your rights and achieve a favorable outcome.
Safeguard Your Privacy
To maintain your privacy and protect your assets, change the passwords for all your accounts, including bank accounts, emails, social networking platforms, and cell phones. By doing so, you eliminate the risk of your spouse snooping or gaining unauthorized access to your accounts.
In Mississippi, navigating divorce proceedings requires careful consideration of various factors. By avoiding dating, prioritizing safety, seeking professional guidance, and being mindful of financial and legal matters, you can navigate the process with greater ease. Remember, divorce is a challenging experience, but with the right support and strategies, you can emerge stronger and embark on a new chapter in your life.
To learn more about navigating divorce in Mississippi and the services we provide, contact us today.