How to Act Toward Your Spouse
It is very important that you act in a professional and caring manner towards your spouse prior to and during the divorce proceedings. Everything you say, write in an e-mail, or text message your husband/wife can be used against you in Court. If you master the process, you can create a record through emails and text messages that strengthen your position in Court. Do not under any circumstances send any derogatory or angry emails to your spouse, his/her family, or his/her friends. Your emails should be used to convey information, not discuss how unhappy you are or what a bad parent your spouse may be.
In New York, divorce lawyers are famous for attaching emails and copies of text messages to court papers and quoting from angry and defamatory e-mails in Court. An angry or derogatory email can even result in your spouse receiving an order of protection, which may have a major impact on all aspects of your case. If your spouse has an order of protection during the pendency of the divorce case, you will be limited in the manner and times you see your children. Most spouses tend to use orders of protection as a sword rather than a shield. The first time you call to speak with your children or are ten minutes late for a visit, your spouse will be on the phone with either the police or his/her lawyer. This will result in another motion being filed, casting you in a negative light before the Judge. Additionally, if your spouse is able to obtain an order of protection, you can be removed from your home against your will, and your spouse may be granted temporary exclusive use and occupancy of your home.
I often counsel my clients how to word many emails and text messages to achieve their objectives in their divorce case. For example, if one spouse wishes to have extended time with the children, he/she should immediately start creating a record through emails of his/her requests to be with the children. Email your spouse and keep asking for more time or ask for a calendar of the children's activities. Inquire when the next parent teacher conference will be held. Find out the time and place of doctor appointments. Ask for the names and addresses of your children's friends. Say that you want to arrange play dates for them. It is important to not just ask but follow through on your requests. Contact your children's teachers and doctors. Call their friends' parents and arrange play-dates or weekend excursions. Judges are concerned with what is happening in the children's lives and how important a role you play in them. Judges do not care that, two years ago, you worked twenty four hours a day or you never attended a parent teacher conference for whatever excuse. Start planning a strategy for success.
If you feel that your spouse is spending too much money prior to the commencement of the case in Court, communicate with him/her via email and explain your position. You may inform him/her that you are unable to afford such a lavish lifestyle. Cut back on some of the extras that you have enjoyed over the years, but you must make sure to keep your spouse in the loop through emails. Create a budget that shows the dramatic cut back in expenses. Communicate to your spouse that you probably will not be getting as large a bonus or that your employment is in jeopardy. By creating a record through emails and text messages, your spouse cannot argue that you fabricated your losses. Be clear and concise in all your correspondences, and do not put anything in them that may portray you as untruthful. A well thought out and balanced campaign will best serve your interests in a divorce proceeding. The lawyer you choose should be able to guide you through this process with relative ease.