Thursday, December 15, 2016

Good Financial Manners

In every divorce, there is disappointment.  Often, one or both parties don't like rulings or even some agreements that are reached.  They feel like they were treated unfairly or they may feel stuck in a situation that no longer works financially.  Circumstances may have changed and a difficult situation has become impossible. 

Sometimes, people decide to be a little passive-aggressive and mess around with the finances just to irritate their ex- or soon-to-be-ex spouse.  There are some bad ideas that will not help in the long term, that could get you into trouble.

Here are some simple steps you can take to keep the financial peace and stay on better terms with your former significant other.

1.  Pay the correct amount.  If you are ordered to pay $623.57, please pay that amount.  Cutting back a little bit is not allowed.  Do what you are ordered to do.  Judges don't appreciate failures to comply with their orders.

2.  Be on time.  If the payment is due on the 1st or 15th or any other specific date, make the payment on or before that date.  You might end up paying interest or attorney fees for some late payments.

3.  Don't make changes without an agreement or order.  You cannot just decide to adjust an obligation on your own.  You will likely end up in court on the wrong side of an enforcement action.  If you want to make changes, it's best to get an agreement and put it in a new order that is signed by the Judge.

4.  Don't threaten to withhold money.  It will produce an angry response and nothing helpful.  It's better to address pending issues directly, rather than indirectly by threats.  If you withhold payments that are due, that will probably get you in trouble with the Judge.

5.  Don't write insults on a check or letter for payment.  Those look particularly bad when presented in court.  You may momentarily feel good about getting revenge, but it makes you look petty and childish in court.  It's a bad idea, but I still see it occasionally.  It never works well.

If you will follow the advice above, you should have a less contentious time in court and you can save yourself time, money and aggravation.  Good luck!