Seven things you should not do when served with divorce papers by your spouse

FOR most people, being served with divorce papers by your spouse is probably one of the biggest surprises in your life.  The spouse in the receiving end of the divorce sometimes are not offered any explanation for the divorce petition by their spouse.  You may start getting upset about how this can happen to you and start doing things that are going to be seriously detrimental to your divorce case later on in the proceeding.  Here are seven things you should not do.
Do not confront your spouse and commit domestic violence
Many spouse feel very angry and upset upon receiving the divorce papers.  You may start blaming your spouse and attacking your spouse.  You may even yell, threaten, scream, or even physically assault your spouse.  This type of confrontation is called “domestic violence.”  You may be arrested criminally if your spouse calls law enforcement.  Your spouse may also file a domestic violence restraining order against you.  Either one would compromise your ability to seek custody of your children, child support, and spousal support.  It would also affect your credibility as a witness for future proceedings.  In addition if you do this in front of the children, this may be looked at as domestic violence and abuse against the children.  The incident may be reported to Child Protective Services for investigation.
Do not run to the bank and empty out all your bank accounts or sell assets except for funds necessary retain legal representation in the divorce.
If you have assets, do not run and empty out your bank accounts with the goal of securing it from your spouse.  The divorce petition and summons includes certain automatic temporary restraining orders (ATROS) which prohibits transferring and encumbering assets.  You will be in violation of the ATROS if you do this.  Your spouse may also make a claim for breach of fiduciary duty against you.  However there are certain exceptions to withdrawing funds such as funds necessary for your living expenses and funds you need to retain an attorney.
Do not cut off your spouse from any insurance policies
One of the ATROS prohibits you from removing your spouse from health insurance coverage and other insurance policy.  It would be a violation of ATROS to do so.  You need to maintain your spouse on all existing insurance until the divorce is finalized or the status of marriage is dissolved in a bifurcated trial.
Do not take off with your child and move out of state or out of the country
If the child has been living in this state, California Court has jurisdiction over your child even if you leave California after being served the divorce.  Your spouse can get an order from the California court to return the child to California and get sole physical custody of your child.  This can be enforced through law enforcement in other states.  In addition, this would also be an ATROS violation.  Such a move would seriously undermine your claim for custody of the children.
Do not use your child as a messenger to communicate with your spouse
Divorce process is a very difficult process for the children.  Children often blame themselves for the divorce of their parents.  Children sometimes manifest this through their academic performance during the divorce process.  Do not involve the children in your divorce case.  Using the children to communicate messages to your spouse puts them in a difficult and very stressful situation.  This will also affect your claim for custody of your children if you regularly involve your children in your attempt to communicate with your spouse.  In addition, you should not say disparaging remarks about the other parent to your children.
Do not stalk your spouse onsocial media such as Facebook or Twitter.
Your spouse probably stopped informing you as to what is going on in his/her life at this point.  You may be curious if your spouse hooked up with a third party or an old flamer.  You may be curious what your spouse are telling your friends and family.  Do not stalk your spouse on social media such as Facebook.  Do not hack into your spouse’s e-mail.  This is a crime.  Your spouse can also file a domestic violence restraining order against you for stalking.  Most of the evidence obtained illegally is not admissible in court anyways.  If you have been unfriended by your spouse, let it be.
Do not  quit your job voluntarily
If you think you can dodge child support and spousal support by quitting your job voluntarily, it is not going to happen.  Your spouse’s lawyer will argue that there was no legitimate reason for you to leave your employment and may seek the court to impute income on you.  Your spouse may seek vocational evaluation for purposes of determining your earning capacity.  In addition, the amount of income you will lose by quitting is substantially more than the money you will owe in child or spousal support.  Even if you are successful in dodging the support orders by quitting your job, your spouse can modify them back up the moment you go back to the work force.
If  you have been served with divorce papers and are unsure how to react,  seek professional help before you dig yourself deeper in the hole.
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Please note that this article is not legal advice and is not intended as legal advice.  The article is intended to provide only general, non-specific legal information.  This article is not intended to cover all the issues related to the topic discussed.  The specific facts that apply to your matter may make the outcome different than would be anticipated by you.  This article does create any attorney client relationship between you and the Law Offices of Kenneth U. Reyes, P.C.  This article is not a solicitation.

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Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes is a Certified Family Law Specialist.  He was President of the Philippine American Bar Association.  He is a member of both the Family law section and Immigration law section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association.  He has extensive CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, P.C. is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 747, Los Angeles, CA, 90010.  Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail [email protected] or visit our website at Kenreyeslaw.com.
 

Atty. Kenneth Reyes

Attorney Kenneth Ursua Reyes is a Certified Family Law Specialist. He was President of the Philippine American Bar Association. He is a member of both the Family law section and Immigration law section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association. He has extensive CPA experience prior to law practice. LAW OFFICES OF KENNETH REYES, P.C. is located at 3699 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 747, Los Angeles, CA, 90010. Tel. (213) 388-1611 or e-mail [email protected] or visit our website at Kenreyeslaw.com.

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