The other day at lunch with another family lawyer here in Norman, we began discussing the things that our clients do that make their cases so much harder. Out of the discussion I have come up with 10 things that one should not do during their family law case.
Why? Because each of these things will make it harder for you to win your case, and each is guaranteed to make your case harder, more expensive, and less likely to produce good results. Some attorneys have even been known to do little dances in their offices when the opposing side does one of these things!
They are in no particular order except for the first five, which are big DON’Ts!
10 Don’ts During a Family Law Case
Don’t start a new romantic relationship
Starting a new relationship is only going to incite your spouse, alienate the children, and let the other lawyer make you look foolish in front of the court. Don’t give the other side ammunition to make your case harder by jumping into a new relationship.
Don’t break the law
Keep your nose clean. Criminal charges and bad behavior are going to make you look dishonest, irresponsible and unfit as a parent.
Don’t move far away
Especially if you have children, you are not going to make life any easier if you decide to move far away.
Don’t do drugs (illegal or those for which you have no prescription)
I have always told my clients that child custody cases are hard, unless one parent does drugs, then they are easy–that parent loses. Family law cases are hard enough. Don’t get involved in drugs during your case.
Don’t write anything down (or text) unless you want the judge to read it
My mother always said don’t write anything down that you want to keep a secret. Guess what, don’t write anything down (or send text messages) that you do not want the judge to see. If you are going to call your ex a “bitch,” don’t do it in writing.
Don’t forget that the other side is recording your conversations
Are you an angry person? You will seem like one when that one argument where you lost your temper is played in court. Keep it civil and polite as if you are on stage and trying to appear like a good guy or gal.
Don’t have sex with the opposing side
It is not over if you two are still sleeping together. Don’t make love one night and spend the next day in court. It is dishonest behavior and keeps the old wounds open.
Don’t change employment
This is tricky because opportunities may come, but don’t quit your job to not pay child support, pretend to be on leave, or otherwise sabotage your employment because of your case. Keep it steady, and be ready to take that next step AFTER your case is over.
Don’t do anything that your mother or grandmother would be ashamed of you for doing
The judge does not love you like your mother and grandmother, and may not be very forgiving of your irresponsible and ugly behavior during your case. So, wear the white hat and be the good guy/gal!
Don’t lie to your lawyer
Your lawyer is here to help you. When you do something stupid (like one of the things listed above), let your lawyer know so he or she does not find it out the week before trial. They might be able to help you mitigate your damages. Your lying does not help anyone and your lawyer is not here to judge you, but to help you.