- Always tell the truth.
- Keep your attorney and Guardian ad Litem informed of your current information, such as telephone number, email address, mailing address, and residence address.
- Do not move too often from one house to another. Prior to any move, contact your attorney to get his advice.
- Keep your attorney informed of any major life-changing event such as a job change, a move, an arrest, a death of a witness, a Department of Social Services investigation, a late payment of child support, or a violation of the court order.
- Do not make any posts on Facebook or any other social media website unless your attorney gives you permission to do so. It is best to close down your Facebook account during your case. I often use Facebook material when representing our clients. Anything put on Facebook can usually be used in court.
- Your telephone conversations and other conversations may be audio or video taped under certain circumstances, so be careful of the way you speak to someone and what you say to them.
- Email and text can also be reproduced. Be very careful of what you say in them. Do not let the heat of the moment influence what you write or text.
- A private investigator may be following you. Technology allows someone to watch you without being seen. If you are doing something that looks inappropriate to a stranger, it will look bad to the court, so be careful of what you do.
- Do not go on any dates or be alone with anyone of the opposite sex during your family court case. Remember you are married until you are divorced even though you may be separated from your spouse. Most judges hate adultery and if you are caught in a situation that may be considered adultery, the court may punish you in some way.
- Be involved in your child’s school and extracurricular activities. Attend Teacher/Parent conferences and go to lunch with your child. Unless the court order says otherwise, make sure you are going to all of your child’s extracurricular activities even if it is not your time to have your child.
- Make sure your child is not tardy or misses any school unless it is excused. Any missed days or classes can be used against you in the court. Judges often look at school records, grades, and absences/tardies in custody cases.
- Make a budget. If you are getting ready to separate from your spouse or to complete a divorce, you need a budget that includes what you believe your future income and expenses will be. Bills double and incomes are cut in half once the divorce is final. You need to be financially capable of supporting yourself, so plan accordingly.
- Be patient. A family court case is a marathon and not a sprint.
- Keep a diary or calendar of important events. If your spouse is habitually late paying child support/alimony, is always bringing the children home late, is always getting the children to school late, keep a diary. A diary accomplishes several things. It will help refresh your memory, and it will help your attorney better prepare your case.
Rhett D. Burney, Esq.