How To Protect Your Legal Rights During Divorce


When going through a divorce, it is likely that many legal issues will arise. It is important for you to know and understand your legal rights during your divorce. Your divorce attorney can help you with this because they will be well versed in the legal rights for your state. Although each state is different, the same rights that you have in the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution will still exist if you are undergoing a divorce.

In the specific case of divorce, there are laws that are designed to keep each spouse protected. This could be protection from intimidation, harassment, abuse, and so on.

When you are undergoing a divorce, following the divorce laws are really more about NOT doing things than doing things.

With that in mind, here are the top things you should do to protect your legal rights during divorce:

1) Do Not Damage Any Property

Do not damage, hide, ruin, or transfer any property that is owned by both you and your spouse without the consent of your spouse. An example of this would be concealing or destroying money. Any experienced divorce attorney will quickly detect any irregularities. If it is discovered that you destroyed or hid any property, the courts will not view you favorably. 

2) Do Not Move Children Outside of the Court’s Jurisdiction

A general rule of thumb is to always keep any minor children within the state where the divorce is happening. Some states will allow you and your children to move up to one hundred and fifty miles within the state. Once you file for your divorce, the state in which you file will be the state that has jurisdiction over your children. If you don’t follow the laws for the state in which you filed, you could end up loosing custody of your children. 

It is also important to make sure that your children are still available for your spouse to visit. Custody and visitation rights will be decided when the divorce is finalized, but for now, you should not hinder your spouse from parenting your children. In some cases, there are circumstances (such as physical or verbal abuse) that would require you to keep your children away from your spouse. In this type of situation, you can go to the authorities for help. 

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Related: How To Find The Right Divorce Attorney For You

3) Do Not Spend Your Spouse’s Money 

Do not spend the money that your spouse possesses or owns and avoid using any credit cards that are only in your spouse’s name. If you have any joint credit accounts, and are worried that your spouse may run up unnecessary debts, then you can seek special protection from the court. 

Dividing the debts and your financial accounts will be a major priority for the court when the divorce begins. If you spend your spouse’s money, the debt and the accounts may not be divided in your favor.

4) Do Not Disobey the Orders of the Court

Last but not least, do not disobey the orders of the court. Everyone has legal rights, but if the court has additional legal boundaries set, do not cross them. A temporary court order may be needed if you feel that you need added protection during the divorce proceedings. Having this temporary court order may also help decrease the anxiety you may have from protecting your legal rights. 

If there are any orders that pertain to visitation rights, children custody, debt division and so on, follow them. Otherwise, you will only cause more conflict and the courts will not view you so favorably. 

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