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Do’s And Don’ts With Family Law 

Family law cases are incredibly stressful for everyone in the family – both parties and their children. That said, some actions or attitudes can make the situation even worse for both parties and the children. Over the years, we have identified some “do’s” and “don’ts,” and we offer them here for your consideration.


  • Do make sure you really want a divorce before you threaten to file one.
  • Do make sure you talk to your children and prepare them for the impending divorce.
  • Do remember that your children are not divorcing the other parent!
  • Do give your child permission to love the other parent.
  • Do say nice things about the other parent, including how much he or she loves the child.
  • Do reassure your child how much you love him or her.
  • Do reassure your child that he or she will be okay.
  • Do reassure your child that you are okay.
  • Do reassure your child that the other parent will be okay.
  • Do realize that the process is long, stressful and difficult.
  • Do realize that the process is long, stressful and difficult on the other spouse, too.
  • Do attempt to agree upon a custody and visitation schedule for the children.
  • Do make copies of all important financial documents and keep them in a safe place.
  • Do pay your bills – you are protecting your credit rating, as well as your spouse’s.
  • Do try to reach an agreement as to who will take which specific personal items.
  • Do make sure you consult with a family law attorney even if you are not planning on hiring one.
  • Do have a strategy outlining where you will live, how you will make ends meet, who will watch the children, etc.
  • Unless there is a history of domestic violence, do warn your spouse before he/she is served with the divorce paperwork and make sure the children are not present.
  • Do make sure that you removed everything you want from the house when you leave.
  • Do enroll in some personal counseling if you are having a difficult time dealing with the divorce.
  • Do expect to compromise on certain issues at some point during the divorce process.
  • Do honor your spouse’s wish to not talk.
  • Do go with your spouse to a counselor, if either of you think it would help.
  • Do take the “high road” and be respectful toward your spouse. Always.


  • Don’t take divorce lightly.
  • Don’t bring up the subject of divorce with your spouse unless you really intend to get one.
  • Don’t underestimate the expense and stress of a divorce.
  • Don’t let anyone pressure you into getting a divorce.
  • Don’t ever touch your spouse when you are angry.
  • Don’t sign paperwork of any type – especially in front of a notary before consulting with an attorney.
  • Don’t threaten your spouse, even if it is just to get back at him or her in court.
  • Don’t withhold your children or hide their whereabouts from your spouse.
  • Don’t say anything negative about the other spouse if your child is anywhere in the same building (little pitchers, big ears, etc.).
  • Don’t let anyone else say anything negative about the other spouse if your child is anywhere near or might hear it.
  • Don’t put anything on Facebook or other social media that you do not want the judge to see! (That stuff never goes away.)
  • Don’t tell your child if you are afraid you will not have enough money.
  • Don’t tell your child you have to give all your money to the other spouse.
  • Don’t tell your child that you can’t buy things (for the child or yourself) because of the other spouse.
  • Don’t conceal any assets.
  • Don’t discuss the details of your divorce with your children.
  • Don’t move your children’s residence without first consulting with an attorney if you expect a fight over custody.
  • Don’t give your spouse cash unless you get a receipt.
  • Don’t divide assets without consulting with a divorce lawyer.
  • If you are going to fight for custody of your child, don’t move out of the house without first consulting with an attorney.
  • Don’t contact your spouse if he or she has asked you not to.
  • Don’t visit your spouse at home or at work unless you were invited.
  • Don’t throw away any receipts showing proof of payment of child support, spousal support or community debts.