While your divorce is pending it can be difficult to avoid awkward, uncomfortable, and sometimes confrontational encounters with your spouse. Here are a few tips to keep yourself out of trouble.
- Don’t post about your divorce, your children or your spouse on social media. Things to avoid include Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, Skype, Instagram, Pinterest, and the like. Information found on social media websites is not private, can be discoverable, and may be potentially damaging to your interests. This does not mean that you should delete your pages during litigation either, because you could be viewed as having destroyed potentially relevant evidence. The best idea would be to let it lie dormant while your litigation is pending and pick back up where you left off when you are finally divorced.
- Don’t make changes to your insurance beneficiaries or coverage designations. When you file your Complaint for Divorce, or Answer thereto, you complete a Certification of Insurance Coverage pursuant to Court Rule R: 5:4-2(F). That rule requires you to keep any insurance coverage you had prior to you filing for divorce, and to maintain it until such time as a Final Judgment of Divorce is entered. Yes, changes to beneficiaries will be made at the conclusion of your divorce. Yes, you will be able to remove your spouse from your “family plan” health insurance coverage. However, none of that can be done until there is an arrangement for coverage for your spouse incident to your divorce.
- Don’t make any big sales or transfer money without consulting with your spouse and securing their written consent to same. Each party is under an obligation to refrain from diminishing, hypothecating, depleting, pledging or transferring any marital assets during the pendency of your litigation. Often times, judges will enter an order at the outset of your case putting everyone on notice of this obligation. Those assets that you should not touch include but are not limited to any pension/retirement benefits, any and all cash, savings, checking, Certificate of Deposits, or similar accounts, stocks, bonds, stock options, pension or retirement plans, IRA’s, Zero Coupon Bonds, Thrift and Employee Savings Plan, motor vehicles, real estate and other things of value that may be subject to equitable distribution. Transferring, selling or diminishing the value of those assets can be interpreted as depleting your marital estate and will be frowned upon by the court.
- Avoid confrontations and arguments with your spouse in front of your children. No party to divorce litigation should make any derogatory comments regarding the other, any comments regarding the finances of the parties, or any comments regarding the present divorce proceedings in front of their minor children. Not only will the court frown upon such behavior but it can have long term and damaging effects for your children. To the best extent possible, children should continue their lives unaffected by pending litigation, and at the right time, both parents should have a conversation with the child(ren) to let them know what is next for your family unit.
It is important to protect yourself during a divorce action and here at Shane and White we are committed to your matrimonial and family law needs. If you believe your spouse has modified insurance beneficiary designations or is speaking to your children about your pending litigation, please contact our office at 732-819-9100 to set up a consultation today.