Throughout your divorce, it is inevitable that you will have conversations with your spouse, especially if you are remaining in the marital home together or have shared children. However, when engaging in these conversations it is important to keep certain topics off the table during your divorce proceedings. Consult your Florida Divorce Attorney with certain topics that you should refrain from discussing with your spouse during your divorce proceedings.
Do not discuss a settlement with your spouse. Although some may feel they will be able to negotiate a settlement with their spouse outside of court, these negotiation discussions can be used against you later if the settlement turns sour. Some believe that these settlement negotiations remain confidential because they are settlement negotiations, however, that rule does not apply to negotiations between spouses. Any statement of settlement you make outside of a formal negotiation or mediation can be used against you in court. Further, some believe these statements will be inadmissible under the hearsay rule. However, this too is false. First, because these statements would fall under the hearsay exception of “statements by a party opponent.” Therefore, they would be admitted into evidence. Second, the spousal protection would not apply as the spouses are opposing parties. Therefore, if you offer your spouse certain items or make certain settlement offers, these may be presented to the court by your spouse for their consideration. It is important to not engage in any settlement discussions with your spouse outside of formal negotiation or mediation as to protect yourself from future harm.
Do not engage in conversations in front of the children. Being able to coparent and peacefully engage in conversations with your spouse is important for your child to witness. If you are criticizing, complain, or fighting with your spouse in front of your children, this will not only affect your child’s emotional and mental development, but it may also affect your divorce proceeding. When children witness their parents engage in arguments, or they are told by their parent’s negative characteristics about a parent they are placed in an uncomfortable and difficult position that results in guilt, anxiety, and sometimes fear. These emotions can pour over into every aspect of the child’s life and significantly harm their development. Further, one factor the court looks to when determining a child’s best interest in a child custody arrangement is the parent’s ability to encourage a positive relationship between the child and the other parent as well as keep the child outside of the legal dispute involved with the divorce. Therefore, if you have engaged in such behavior this can have a negative impact on your child custody arrangement as the court views you in a negative light and unable to provide a safe environment for your child.
Finally, even in the most heated of arguments with your spouse during your divorce, do not threaten them in any way. It is extremely common for couples’ arguments to escalate, become filled with rage, and words will spill out without prior thought. Some will threaten their spouse physically, financially, or with the custody of the common children. It is crucial, no matter the amount of anger you experience with your spouse, not to engage in such aggressive tactics. These statements will reflect negatively on your character, can be used against you in court, and in extreme cases can result in injunctive measures. The court may find these threats to be the basis for awarding alimony, a protection from abuse, or sole custody of a child until a final divorce judgment can be determined. Therefore, it is crucial to remain calm in these discussions and remove yourself from any situation that you feel may escalate.
It is important to know the boundaries of the discussions you should have with your spouse during the pendency of your divorce proceedings. Do not discuss settlement offers, do not engage in arguments in front of the children or with the children, and finally do not threaten your spouse in any way. Your Florida Divorce Attorney will be able to encourage you through this process and ensure your rights are protected, and remind you of the importance of keeping the discussions with your spouse to a minimum.
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