Getting a divorce is a life changing event for all parties involved. Unlike other types of legal proceedings, divorce cases at times involve raw emotion, anger, betrayal, and even denial. Such emotions often lead individuals into taking actions that not only hurt their divorce case from a legal standpoint, but also exacerbate the overall emotional trauma for both sides.

With that in mind, here are five common mistakes we see clients make in divorce cases–and how you can hopefully avoid them.

1. Social Media Mistakes

Let's face it. Many of us are addicted to social media. We can't go more than 5 minutes without checking our Twitter feed. And posting every mundane thought or detail of our day to Facebook is just second nature. But when it comes to a failing marriage and divorce, you need to keep in mind that anything you say or post on social media can be used as evidence against you in court. And a judge may not look favorably on a person who regularly trashes a spouse on social media when it comes to making child custody or alimony decisions.  In addition, be careful what your friends post (they may still be friends with your soon-to-be Ex online), though they may think they’re being supportive in showing that you’re moving on when you’re out for a night on the town, those pictures can come back to haunt you in a custody case.

2. Exaggerating or Fabricating Claims Against Your Spouse

In the heat of an argument, you may honestly believe your spouse is a monster. But when it comes to time to head into court, you need to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. In other words, you should never attempt to gain sympathy from a judge by exaggerating or fabricating claims against your spouse. For example, don't tell the judge your spouse is abusing you or your children unless it's the truth.

3. Using Your Children as Weapons

Along similar lines, you and your spouse need to remember you are parents first and divorce litigants second. Your children should never be “weaponized” as part of your divorce fight. Do not attack your spouse in front of the children. And of course, do not coach your children to lie about how their other parent treats them in an attempt to “gain an advantage” in the divorce case. Trust us–such tactics will backfire in court and even worse, harm your child.

4. Emptying the Checking Account or Taking Other Marital Assets

Another common tactic that some spouses employ in divorce is emptying a joint bank account or hiding some other asset from their estranged spouse. Once again, such tactics will backfire once you get in front of a judge. A court typically directs spouses not to “dissipate” any martial assets once a lawsuit is filed. And if either party tries to “jump the gun,” it will just hurt his or her credibility with the judge.

5. Insisting on Litigation at All Costs.

Let's not beat around the bush: A contested divorce can be extremely expensive and time-consuming. And in many cases, any differences between the parties can be resolved through an alternative to litigation, such as mediation or collaborative law. So before you decide to go charging into court, you need to speak with an experienced New Jersey divorce attorney who can properly advise you of all your options. Contact Jessica Mazur at jmazur@hoaglandlongo.com or call 732-545-4717 today if you would like more information.