Divorce do's and don'ts round out 'Top 10 Commandments'

By: Marie E. Matyjaszek

Law Office of Robert Matyjaszek

Editor's Note: This is the second of a two-part series. Part one ran in the July 29 edition of the Washtenaw County Legal News.

I'm sure you've been eagerly awaiting the last 5 of my Top 10 Divorce Commandments, so here they are.

6) Thou shalt focus on the big picture.

Temporary orders are just that - temporary. The provisions contained within them may be identical to what's in the final Judgment of Divorce, or they may share nothing in common.

A lot of clients may have to "prove" themselves during the divorce in order to achieve a more favorable outcome.

Maybe he wasn't the most involved dad or she was the workaholic mom. People are hesitant to believe that others will make a permanent change, so you may not have the extensive parenting time schedule that you want in the beginning.

But if you faithfully exercise what you are given in a temporary order and try to be a better parent, chances are good that your spouse or the court will reward you for your actions.

You may need time to secure a suitable residence to accommodate the children, which can also change your final judgment.

Given time, people often calm down and are more likely to hear your side and consider meeting in the middle.

7) Thou shalt put thy children first.

If you have children, no matter what age they are, they will be affected by your divorce.

Having to pay any type of support can be a hard pill to swallow, and while child support is for the children, some payers believe they should be able to dictate what it is spent on.

Keep in mind that items like the mortgage payment, utilities and fuel are for the benefit of the children. The kids need a roof over their head, electricity, heat, and a mode of transportation to and from all those recitals and soccer games.

It is not mandatory that the payee only use it to buy Sponge Bob pajamas and Fruit Loops.

Spend your parenting time with your children and don't miss a parenting time visit because you want to hang out with Mr. or Ms. Right Now.

If your behavior doesn't benefit your children, don't do it.

8) Thou shalt follow the agreement and court order.

I'm not as good of a problem solver when it's my client that creates the problem.

Sometimes the court may order something that you don't want to follow, like parenting classes or changing your support amount, but you've got to do it.

Similarly, if you and your spouse came to an agreement together, and incorporate that into a court order, you have the same legal obligation to abide by it.

In my opinion, breaking an agreement can look worse because you voluntarily entered into it and then chose to toss it aside.

Not complying with a court order can subject you to contempt, attorney fees for the other side, court costs, and at times, jail.

9) Thou shalt have reasonable expectations.

If attorneys had a magic wand that could erase all of your problems, we would use it (but you wouldn't want to pay the fees for it).

We can't turn back the clock and instead are often faced with the dilemma of cleaning up a mess we didn't create.

I can only work with the facts that are in existence at the time a client presents them to me. Damage control is very frustrating to both the attorney and client and it's important for the client to have reasonable expectations as to how fast the cleanup on aisle 4 can be accomplished.

Some things are never going to smell like roses, but it's not always impossible for them to resemble the fake ones you can buy at 7-11.

10) Thou shalt look on the bright side.

You're not going to look back at all aspects of your divorce and laugh, but you will be able to make a joke out of some of it.

Things will get better even if it takes a while. Everyone going through a divorce is allowed to throw a "pity party" and feel lousy, but try not to make it your permanent attitude.

Don't let your soon-to-be ex dictate your future happiness.

Reality is not always sunshine and lollypops but it is where most of us live.

If divorce has forced you to sell your dream house and move into an apartment or condo, the sooner you accept this the faster you can get over the loss.

Who knows, maybe your new apartment complex will have a really cute pool boy.

My 10 Commandments are not nearly as important as the other well-known set of rules, so it's a good idea to listen to them both.

Luckily, if you break any of my commandments, it won't change the direction of the elevator when you reach the other side.

The author is an associate attorney at the Law Office of Robert Matyjaszek PLLC, Jackson, Michigan.

Her blogsite is: http://www.re-ciprocity.blogspot.com

She can be reached at (517) 787-0351 or by emailing her at matyjasz@hotmail.com.

Published: Thu, Aug 5, 2010

Comments

  1. No comments
Sign in to post a comment »