Divorce Preparation: Step 12 – Consider a PI

We continue our series on practical steps to consider when you are facing an imminent divorce. We are now on to Step 12 – Consider hiring a private investigator.

Alabama law does consider “fault” when deciding how to divide property in a divorce. Additionally, depending on the facts, adultery can affect custody determinations.

If your spouse is committing adultery, then you are better off having proof of it then not. This is the case even where you fully intend to settle your case. In fact, often having proof of an affair is what gets the case settled at terms that are fair to you.

It is not fun to find out your spouse has cheated, and you may be like many of my clients who have said they would rather not know. But, you should think carefully before making that decision. Talk to your lawyer. Assuming you’ve chosen a good one, listen to their advice. If you are going to get proof of it, now is the time. Your lawyer should be able to talk to you about the costs involved (it is not cheap) and how to improve your chances of making the surveillance effective, should you choose to go that route.

Divorce Preparation: Step 13 – Be Good

Well, we have finally reached the last step in this series of posts on practical steps to consider when you may be facing divorce. I will wrap up the series with two more posts to conclude and summarize the series. But, first, the final step which may seem a bit silly.

It is simply this: Be Good.

Here is the principle: you are about to be under a microscope. You are reading this blog, so I assume that you may be facing a divorce and you’d like to that unpleasant process to be as amicable as possible. Unfortunately, that is not always possible. Your spouse may not share that objective for some reason. They may be influenced by others (lawyers, friends, etc.) that convince them that what you are offering is not fair.

So, there is a chance that your case will end up going to trial no matter how diligent you and your lawyer are about trying to work the case out fairly and quickly. That being said, you should not put ammunition in the gun for your spouse to use against you.

That means no dating, no carousing, and no partying. If custody may be an issue it means making the children your number one priority (they should be that anyway, right?). Even things that are perfectly legal and harmless any other time can be twisted to look suspicious or worse in the hands of your spouse’s lawyer.

Suppose for example that you go out for dinner and drinks with members of the office to celebrate a fellow employee’s birthday. This sounds harmless enough. But, in a custody case these questions may be asked: While you chose to go out drinking with your friends, your spouse was at home taking care of the children, correct? Are you having a romantic relationship with Joe/Jane who was also at the party? How many drinks did you have that night? This is something you routinely did during the marriage, isn’t it (i.e. choosing social events over your family)? You drove home that night under the influence of alcohol didn’t you? Etc.

You get the point. This is a silly example, but why even open yourself up to this line of questioning. Don’t put the judge in the position having to decide whether you are telling the truth that this was a harmless and isolated event.

Spend time with your kids, work, stay around the house, exercise, and attend to your spiritual life. Be above reproach. Be Good. Come to think of it, Its not bad advice whether you are facing divorce or not.

Jim Jeffries | Mobile & Baldwin County Attorney

Jim currently is a member of the Alabama Supreme Court's Advisory Committee on Child Support Guidelines and Enforcement as well as a statewide committee that has been tasked with reviewing and making recommendations for possible revisions to Alabama's version of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA). Jim was also recently appointed by the President of the Alabama State Bar Association to a serve on a committee whose purpose is to review and comment on Alabama legislation regarding joint custody for a proposal to the Alabama Legislature for possible changes in this legislation.

Jim has attained a Peer Review Ranking of AV from Martindale-Hubbell® - The highest an attorney can be ranked by his peers.

He continues to lecture to attorneys across the state regarding family law issues.

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Jeffries Family Law, LLC

Divorce Attorney | Child Support & Child Custody Attorney | Prenuptial Law Attorney

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