Monday, May 15, 2017

Should I Wait or Can I Do it Now? A Short Quiz for People Going Through Divorce --Part 2

Many temptations come up when people are facing divorce.  Many opportunities also come up then.  Depending upon timing, some things are good ideas and others are not.

If you are facing divorce, or already involved in a divorce, here are some situations that commonly arise, along with some suggestions for you to think about when you are deciding whether to do something now or wait. 

Part 1 of this Quiz dealt with property or financial issues.  Part 2 has some financial matters, but it's more about personal relationships.

1.  Should  start dating?  NO!       That also includes:
  • Don't list yourself on a singles dating web site, 
  • Don't get engaged, 
  • Don't have a boy friend/girl friend move in,
  • Don't move in with a romantic interest, and
  • Don't set a wedding date.
Those actions can cause emotional upset to your still-current spouse, which may damage relationships, slow down the divorce and make it more expensive.  They can also open additional financial issues to fight over.  It's not worth it.

2.  Should I introduce the kids to my new dating interest?  Hopefully, you're not dating while the divorce is pending.  Generally, you need to be very cautious about this.  Probably, you should wait until you have dated for at least 6 months and you should also coordinate this with your ex-spouse. Ideally, you and your ex would work with a family therapist to coordinate the timing and wording of how to make that introduction.

3.  Should I change my will or beneficiaries on insurance, retirement plans or anything else?  Normally, there will probably be a court order saying you can't make those changes.  Judges like to keep everything the way it has been.  They would probably order you to change those documents back to the way they were before you changed them. Consult with your lawyer on this, and don't do anything on your own.

4.  Is it OK if I buy gifts for my new girl friend or boy friend?  No.  I know it's not good for your new relationship, but spending community funds on a new romantic interest is always going to cause problem with your spouse and with the Judge.  At the least, the expenditure will probably be added to your column as an asset in the property division. Your spouse will be angry and less cooperative than if you had not done this. It's also possible the Judge could sanction you for violating a court order.  It's not worth the trouble that follows when you get found out, and you will get found out.

5.  Should I give away things I don't need or want?  Talk to your attorney.  The answer will likely be No! You would probably violate a court order and you would probably be disposing of community property.  Don't take a chance on it.

If you are thinking of taking some financial or relationship actions while the divorce is pending, do as our British friends would do.  Stay Calm and consult your attorney.

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