We've all seen the funny memes online shared by someone (maybe even you!) who is too tired to "adult" today, turning a pretty boring noun into a funny verb we can all relate to and making us laugh in solidarity. However, while "adulting" may be 'optional' in your regular day-to-day life, it is a requirement when you find yourself going through a divorce.
It doesn't matter how old you when you go through a divorce, the vast array of emotions experienced are largely the same for everyone. There will be times when it feels easier to just act like a child and let your emotions get the best of you. While this may release a lot of built up stress for you in the moment, you must always be cognizant that your childish behavior may have serious adult consequences in your family law case. In fact, it could do far more harm than good. Keep the following things in mind whenever that urge to go into full-on toddle-mode hits you:
1. Young & Dumb Won't Win You Any Favors
First, it is not the wisest move to play the “young and dumb” card when going through a divorce. Typically, anyone who was old enough to get into a marriage will be held to a higher standard of reasonableness by the family court. If you are a young college-age individual, who is not yet married, and you rack up a lot of credit card debt, this may be excused as simply acting immature and reckless. But, the same individual who has married, and is now through a divorce, must be mindful of what that large credit card debt looks like to the attorneys and judge involved in the family court case. Your spouse and his or her lawyer will undoubtedly use this reckless behavior against you, especially if it relates to your responsibility and maturity in determining custody of any minor children you may have. When going through a divorce, it is far more wise and prudent to use credit card limits to pay for attorney fees, moving costs, child care fees, mediation fees, etc. versus going out and drowning your sorrows in shopping sprees and nights out with the boys at the bar.
2. Avoid Public Displays of Emotions & Bad Behavior
Second, try to avoid any and all public displays of emotions or questionable behavior. It is very tempting when going through a divorce to want to take a break for a little “me time” and just let go of all of the stress and pressure. Drinking, profanity, and anger are common responses to the type of stress divorce causes, but it is imperative to do all that you can to not have public displays of such behavior. If anything, have some close friends over to your house and vent with them within the confines of your home (making sure the children aren't home and are well cared for elsewhere). Displays of such behaviors may be common among your peers, especially if you are a young-adult who married before most of your friends, however, this kind of behavior is not condoned by family court judges, especially when a divorce involves the custody of children. It does not demonstrate the parent is emotionally or mentally equipped to care for young, impressionable children. If you find yourself struggling with handling your emotions in a healthy manner, ask your attorney for a referral to a well-qualified therapist or life coach who can help be an outlet for your emotions during this difficult time.
3. Don't Shoot Yourself in the Foot
Third, don't make any new mistakes that will make it harder for your attorney to handle your case. Your attorney will take you as you are at that first consultation, mistakes and all. He or she will offer advice so you can avoid making any future mistakes that might jeopardize your case. Your attorney cannot be the only one in the situation acting like an adult. You must do your part by listening to the advice you're paying for and then following it as closely as possible. No one has the perfect divorce, and it's likely you will make some mistakes along the way just simply because it's such an overwhelmingly emotional time for most people. If you do make mistakes, it is far better for you to own up to them to your attorney and to learn from them so that you don't make the same mistakes again. Displaying sincerity and genuine remorse over your mistakes (i.e. acting like an adult during a very stressful situation) will go a long way in helping your attorney handle your case in a way that sets you up for a more successful future.
The Stevens Firm, P.A. - Family Law Center has provided exceptional legal counsel and support to families throughout South Carolina for over two decades, handling all matters of family law, such as child custody, child support, and divorce. We are well-equipped to handle all divorce and family law matters, no matter your circumstances. Contact us at (864) 598-9172 to schedule your initial consultation.