Divorce is a difficult process, but it helps to know what to expect. While these suggestions will not guarantee a favorable ruling during your divorce, we hope they shed some insight on divorce etiquette.
1. Do hire a divorce attorney
You should trust that your attorney will be able to defend you and protect your interests in court. Before you decide on an attorney, keep your options open by shopping around. Interview at least three prospective attorneys before settling on representation. During your interviews consider their attorney fees and rates. For instance, you should know if they charge by the hour and if you are able to afford them. Take their years of practice into consideration (three years being the least) to gauge their level of expertise and proficiency with the law. As most divorce laws are state-specific, your prospective divorce attorney should be local to your area to provide you with the best possible legal counsel.
2. Don’t post private family matters on social media
There are many social media traps that you can fall into in the middle of a divorce or a custody case. During a divorce trial, assume everything you share on your social media platforms will be scrutinized and used against you. Divorce proceedings can evoke deep feelings of anger, tempting you to vent out your frustration to your online community.
It can be tempting to think that displays of support through a tirade of comments and “likes” will temper your feelings of anger. While these public shows of support may affirm you, this feeling is fleeting. Once you put a post out on social media, you cannot take it back. Even if you do delete that Snapchat rant, nothing is ever lost in the internet ether. You should always expect that your spouse— or, much worse, their lawyer—will see your posts(s) and use these to present you in an unfavorable light in court.
Additionally, talking ill of your ex on social media can have you sued for defamation.
3. Do dress well for court
When preparing for divorce court, the last thing on your mind is your outfit choice. You may hope to have an impartial judge who will examine only the facts of your case. While a judge will aim to be as fair as possible, it remains that the way you dress can influence your outcome in a divorce court. Consider the courtroom as a formal environment. Dress as you would if attending a job interview or church service.
If you are a woman preparing for your divorce court appearance, you may need to consider a conservative look to strike the right impression. This is because society unfairly judges women based on their outward appearance. Avoid bold colors and patterns so as not to draw attention to yourself. Wear your hair in a conservative style, staying away from popular trends. Consider a knee-length or longer midi dress, or a skirt dress; Alternatively, you could also go with long pants, a blouse, a sweater, or casual blazer.
Men have an easier time with their wardrobe choices with a clean, well-pressed fitting suit; Or, they can wear a dress-shirt, ironed slacks, and a blazer. Both men and women should conceal any visible tattoos.
5. Do seek emotional support
As an individual going through a divorce, therapy can be an effective first step towards working through any emotional and mental health issues you may be having. A family therapist can be helpful for a divorcing couple seeking to navigate the challenges of raising children in separate homes. They can also provide helpful communication tools to work through and resolve conflict.
6. Do not let divorce define you
While the divorce process can be stressful, it does not need to define your life. There will be difficult days, and this life event may change you in significant ways. Do what you can to preserve your peace of mind. Try to maintain realistic expectations from the proceedings, and focus on the issues that are within your control.
Abiding by these simple rules will help you maintain your sense of self amidst this difficult process.