When people begin the divorce process, they often view themselves as free of the relationship. They start behaving as if they were singe, and they start living it up. People often forget, the marriage is not over until the divorce is finalized. In your heart and mind, you are done and ready to move on, but in the eyes of the law, you are still married to your spouse.
Here’s another thing to remember: In court, divorce is a trial. It can involve evidence and witnesses. At any point, either spouse can enter accusations into the proceedings, complicating the whole affair.
If you are going through a divorce, you should be careful about what you do and where you go. In an ugly divorce trial, anything could be used against you. This is especially true for both dating and social media.
Accusations of Infidelity
It bears repeating: Until the divorce is finalized, you are technically, legally married. The relationship may be over, completely unsalvageable. This could lead you to believe that it’s fine to start dating.
Remember, a divorce trial is an ongoing process. An angry, spiteful spouse could look for any excuse to take you down. If you start dating before your divorce is finalized, you could be accused of infidelity.
This accusation could go wildly off course. Your spouse’s legal team could make retroactive allegations about your new relationship. They could claim that you’ve been dating for years, cheating on your spouse.
Your spouse could use social media against you the same way. Imagine you have a fun night out on the town, and your long-time best friend comes along. You post a picture of the whole gang in front of the nightclub, glammed out and looking your best. Your friend has their arm around your waist. You know that this gesture is completely plutonic, and so does your spouse. If, however, your spouse is looking for ammunition to attack you in court, that innocent arm could be used as evidence of long-term infidelity. They could claim that you’ve known this person for years, and you’ve been secretly having an affair with them the whole time.
Accusations of Wasteful Dissipation
Let’s go back to that picture of you and your friends outside the club. You’re sporting your new suit or dress, looking like a million bucks. You know how much you spent on this outfit, and you know it wasn’t an outlandish amount. Your spouse, however, does not. A spiteful spouse and a crafty legal team could use social media to accuse you of wasteful dissipation.
Wasteful dissipation is an unscrupulous practice where one spouse intentionally squanders money, leaving the other spouse with little after the divorce. Allegations of wasteful dissipation can have a severe impact on your divorce. California courts could force you to pay more than your fair share of property division, or they could order you to take on more of the debt.
An image of you out on the town can be entered as evidence of wasteful dissipation, even if it was only one night and one new outfit.
Dating someone new could also result in a wasteful dissipation claim. Your spouse could argue that you’re intentionally overspending on someone new, attempting to keep them from their fair share.
The Problem of Baseless Accusations
It can be easy to dismiss the above scenarios. In each example, it’s clear that the angry spouse is simply looking for an excuse to make an accusation. It’s true: You can easily squash baseless, silly allegations in court. The accusation itself is not the problem. The problem is the process of handling the allegation.
Anything your spouse brings up in court must be addressed. All accusations must be answered, and evidence must be proven false. No matter how ridiculous a claim is, it requires a response. This requires more work from your attorney, which costs you more money. Answering these claims also requires more time in court, which results in more fees.
At their worst, baseless accusations could be the result of fee churning. Fee churning is a slimy practice. Attorneys know that the longer they can drag a divorce out, the more they will get paid. Sometimes, they use this fact to their advantage. They intentionally enter bizarre requests, claims, and accusations into the trial just to make it last longer.
If you are paying your spouse’s legal fees, you should be highly vigilant against churning. When a lawyer is willing to squeeze money out of a situation, the fact that you’re paying makes that temptation worse.
You should approach your divorce the same way you would any other legal action. Imagine you are suing a car company for your defective automobile. If you are spotted driving that same car, this could be used against you in court. Think of your divorce the same way.
It may be frustrating, but as your divorce is concluding, it’s best to avoid certain behaviors. Consider avoiding dating, and stay off social media. There is nothing inherently wrong with either action, but while you’re under legal scrutiny, any misstep could cause you strife.
Ultimately, follow your attorney’s advice. If they tell you to stop dating, then stop. If they tell you to avoid social media, do so. Focus your attention on keeping yourself legally protected. Once the dust has settled, you’ll be free to live however you want.
If you need help in a divorce, contact us for a consultation. Our number is (949) 565-4158, and you can reach us online.