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How to act during divorce

There are many different issues to discuss in the divorce process. Issues of child custody, property division, alimony and child support swirl in and out of the difficult separation discussion. Sometimes it is assumed in a heterosexual divorce that the woman will gain custody of the children, while the man will end up paying child support. However, as many previous posts have indicated, and as many Alameda County residents know, times have changed. The right to child support payments -- or the obligation to pay child support -- is no longer gender specific.

A recent article on the Huffington Post offered some tips on how someone should act when undergoing separation, in order to gain a favorable child custody ruling. First, do not move out of your home. While this seems like reasonable behavior during a divorce, until a court determines otherwise, the house you live in is your own, and you can continue to live there. Courts are sometimes more likely to award custody to the parent who still lives in the home in which the children grew up.

Next, be forthcoming with one's assets. An attempt to hide assets or liabilities makes you look bad to a court. Also, be mindful of voicing your opinions regarding your soon-to-be-ex. Any negative statements you make to your spouse can be used against you in divorce proceedings. Also, be careful what you do online. The internet is a new and growing opportunity to make social connections. However, it is also the newest place to find evidence against an adverse party. Do not misbehave online because your spouse may be able to track your actions and bring them to a court's attention.

Lastly, wait until your divorce is final to get involved in a new relationship. While meeting other people and moving on with your life is a natural step after a divorce, a court may not look favorably upon such a step if it occurs prior to the final divorce decree.

Ultimately, up to date knowledge on divorce laws and honest, respectful behavior toward your spouse are the best steps to ensure you receive a fair deal in a divorce.

Source: Huffington Post, "The Male Side of Divorce, What Men Need to Know," Silvana D. Raso, Aug. 7, 2012

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John T. Chamberlin, Attorney at Law
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