You could’ve been dreaming about a
divorce for years, but once it becomes a reality, you’re suddenly hit with
emotions you don’t know how to handle – fear, anger, sadness,
guilt, hopelessness, and numbness. You may even feel paralyzed or like
you’re in shock. Your mind is blank, and you don’t know how
to think, act, or feel.
As time goes by, the paralyzing effects of the divorce will subside, but
as the numbness or sadness goes away, it may be replaced by anger, and
even the strong desire to get “revenge.” When people are upset,
they have a tendency to act out and do irrational things. When they’re
so deeply hurt and they want revenge, they can once again, do things they
wouldn’t normally do. Both of these feelings can lead to big problems
if they are acted upon.
We’ve all heard horror stories of the wife who keyed her husband’s
car after he cheated on her, or the husband who beat up his wife’s
new boyfriend, or the wife who maxed out her husband’s credit cards,
or the husband who took off to Mexico with the kids. After all, there
are countless true stories where embittered spouses acted in ways that
were irrational, inappropriate, and sometimes downright illegal during
The problem with acting out is it never ends well. Usually, the result
is less money in the marital estate to divide, more legal fees, a protracted
divorce, and less time with one’s children. If you’re concerned
that you may act out because your spouse has hurt you so much, please
realize that you’ll suffer the consequences if you let your emotions
get the best of you.
How Do I Manage My Reputation?
If your emotions are raw, you have plenty of company. What you’re
feeling is completely normal; however, you don’t want to say or
do anything that will hurt your divorce case. To that end, it’s
important that you develop strategies to ensure that you manage your reputation
during the divorce. Otherwise, you could say or do things that could affect
your ability to get what you want out of your divorce.
For starters, you want to watch what you say about your divorce. The last
thing you want to do is spill your guts to your son’s teacher, your
personal trainer, your hairdresser, or even your co-workers. People love
juicy gossip and if you wear your heart on your sleeve, before you know
it, loads of people are going to know all the messy details of your personal life.
Since you aren’t yourself during a divorce, you may be vulnerable
and get sucked into people’s invitations to talk about your divorce.
Even though you may feel empowered by slamming your spouse, doing so won’t
do anything to protect your reputation. The best defense against saying
too much to people who do not need to know is to practice a short response,
which is to be utilized whenever people ask how your divorce is going.
Say something like, “It’s been hard, but we’re making
good progress.” Practice it, rehearse it in front of the mirror,
and memorize it. This way, when someone asks you how it’s going,
you’ll have your response ready. Of course, you may want to surround
yourself with a few close friends and family who you share the details
of your divorce with, but there is no need or reason to discuss it with
Don’t Misuse Social Media
These days, almost everybody has a Facebook account. Of course, many people
have Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter among other social accounts. If
you’re one of those people who post to Facebook regularly, you need
to be careful about your posts. Why? Because, these days social media
accounts, namely Facebook, are treasure troves of evidence for divorce
If you post pics of you partying, drinking alcohol, wearing revealing clothing,
taking a vacation, spending money, or dating someone new, your spouse’s
divorce lawyer can use that as evidence against you in the divorce case.
Even if you say on Facebook, “I’m so depressed, I don’t
know if I can continue living,” that statement can be used against
you in a child custody case. In other words, don’t post anything
unless you’re comfortable with it getting back to your ex, their
divorce attorney, the judge, or all the above.
To handle yourself correctly on social media, don’t even bring up
the divorce. Don’t complain about your ex, or post pics of you in
Vegas, or pictures of you taking shots with your friends. Even though
you may want your ex to know you’re over him or her, you don’t
want to have to answer questions later on in a deposition about the episode.
Even your well-meaning friends can get you into trouble by saying, “Mexico
was epic. We hit every bar in Tijuana!” Even though that statement
may not be 100% true, it can create a bad impression and you may have
to offer an awkward explanation. In all honesty, social media can get
you into a lot of trouble during a divorce. For that reason, a lot of
divorce attorneys advise their clients to stay off their social accounts
until their divorce is finalized. If that’s too difficult, you can
opt to jump on your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter accounts to view what
your friends are posting, but you don’t want to like, comment, or
post about anything yourself.
If you are going through a divorce, make a real effort to be on your best
behavior. You don’t want to use the divorce as an excuse to have
a few temper tantrums. Instead, make a promise to yourself to act responsible
and mature, this way when you look back on your divorce, you won’t
be embarrassed by the things you said or did.
Contact Claery & Hammond, LLP to meet with a Los Angeles divorce attorney for free!