A recent divorce case illustrates what can happen when an ex-spouse badmouths his or her former partner. When the case concluded, the judge took the unusual step of stating that the couple’s divorce was the most contentious she had handled. Steer clear of these mistakes or they may impact alimony and property division.
One complaint in the case was that the ex-husband would not pay for his child’s hearing aids. This was at the same time as he purchased a lavish engagement ring for a girlfriend. The negative publicity became so widespread that it impacted his law practice. A weak economy amplified the effect.
While the ex-wife was awarded 17 percent of the partnership, the value was lower than it could have been. The lesson here is to avoid airing private domestic issues publicly.
If an ex-spouse’s business takes an unexpected earnings hit after a divorce petition is filed there may be questions about hidden assets, shifting business expenses or lack of effort. Income may be imputed to an ex for spousal support and the property division when the business decline is solely due to his or her own actions.
Imputed or extrapolated income is a remedy in situations that involve voluntary underemployment. Income might be imputed for child support when reported expenses do not match up with income. For example, in one Illinois case, income was imputed that produced a monthly child support obligation of $200 per month. This was about the same as the father listed for storage of a wine collection and other property.
Both parties in the divorce were attorneys, so it was hard to believe the descriptions of their behavior in court. The judge explained that each party made inappropriate gestures at each other while in court. They shouted, interrupted proceedings and often left the courtroom in the middle of a hearing.
Any attorney will advise that rule number one is to show the judge respect during the divorce case. Even when you do not agree with the judge arguing or leaving the courtroom will only result in negative points.
Often when a case goes to trial and a judge decides issues of child custody, property division and spousal support, neither party will be happy with the outcome. Negotiating a settlement that works for your family prior to trial may be preferable.
It often takes some time to reach the final decision to divorce. Setting up an appointment with a therapist may ease the process. In addition, you may want to inventory your assets and debts and gather money to file the divorce.
Do not move out of your marital home before consulting an experienced family law attorney. Speaking with an attorney before you file for divorce will help you avoid mistakes. An attorney can answer questions and help you prepare for what the divorce process entails.
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