a caution street sign, triangle with red outline and white border and an exclaimation mark, in the rain. this image is being used to symbolize things that you should never do during your collaborative divorce.
Written by Michelle N. Ogborne

17 Things Not To Do During Your Collaborative Divorce

 Just getting through your divorce can be challenging enough without you making it harder on yourself.

Even with a collaborative divorce, we sometimes see people make crazy mistakes that will make everyone’s life more difficult.

Here is a list 17 things NOT TO DO during the collaborative divorce process.

  1. Hide Things From Your Attorney – The only way the divorce process works effectively is if you’re open and honest, especially with your own attorney. They can’t help you if you hide things from them.
  2. Rack Up More Debt – Avoid adding more debt. And definitely don’t rack up any in your spouse’s name. This makes negotiations much harder.
  3. Blow Up On Social Media –Social media seems like a safe place to vent. It is not. Assume anything you say or share will make it back to your spouse.
  4. Send Crazy Text Messages Or Emails – You might feel like you’re at your last straw and want to send that #$%! text message or email. Don’t do it. Not only is it a matter of record, the damage it causes during the collaborative divorce process is considerable.
  5. Get Pregnant (or Get Someone Else Pregnant) – Pregnancy during a divorce needlessly complicates matters. If it happened before the divorce, that’s one thing. But don’t set out to get or cause a pregnancy during the divorce.
  6. Negotiate Without Your Attorney – It seems like the nice thing to do, to have a discussion with your spouse on the phone about the collaborative divorce, but don’t do it. You will complicate the final agreement later if you promise something but then have to take it back.
  7. Cash Checks Belonging to Your Spouse – You might still have joint accounts but don’t cash checks belonging to your spouse. If you end up with money that is in their name, document it, and then talk to your attorney about what to do next.
  8. Forget to Get Copies of Records – Always make sure you have copies of all financial records. It might have worked out that your spouse was responsible for all that stuff during marriage but you want a copies of everything for afterwards in case there is a problem.
  9. Forget to Update Your Medical Power of Attorney – Updating your estate plan is important after the divorce is final but you want to update your medical power of attorney. It is complicated if your soon to be ex-spouse is responsible for making life or death decisions for you.
  10. Make Large Purchases – Even if the money is your money, it’s best to avoid making large purchases during the divorce process. The last thing you want is to create an appearance that you’re trying to shift money away.
  11. Forget to Read Court Communications – Read everything you get from your attorney and the court as soon as you get it. Many things are time sensitive and affect your rights during the divorce.
  12. Lose Your Temper –Divorce is stressful, even a collaborative divorce. Nevertheless, it’s important to manage your temper, especially in front of your spouse and kids, and during negotiations.
  13. Forget to Take Care of Yourself –Keep your normal routine as best as possible and talk to your counselor – they’re there to help you manage the emotional side of divorce.
  14. Drink Excessively or Use Illegal Drugs – Sometimes people get carried away with drinking or illegal drugs. Avoid this during your collaborative divorce. A night out blowing off steam with friends that result in a DUI arrest will complicate your divorce process.
  15. Forget to Keep Track of All Communications – Keep track of everything you get from your spouse, your attorney, their attorney, and the court. Set-up files and put everything there so as not to lose them. It will be important later.
  16. Dump Assets – Don’t sell her antique armoire, his father’s stamp collection, or the stock portfolio until a final agreement has been made.

Last and probably the most important of all of them, never

  1. Bad Mouth Your Ex In Front of the Kids – No matter what your ex has done or said during the course of the divorce process, never bad mouth them in front of your kids. It only hurts your kids and your relationship with them. It’s never worth the price you pay.

When you work with Ogborne Law on your collaborative divorce, we’ll help you avoid these pitfalls and more to keep things on track.