Ten steps for easier divorce proceedings
The major practice area of our office is Family Law – Personal Status.
The family field is a complex and sensitive one involving children, strong emotions and much pain. Therefore, when handling these matters a combination of sensitivity, understanding and profound professional knowledge is required in order to bring all the parties involved in the process to a successful end as much as possible.
Our office acts for clients in divorce proceedings, representing them before the Rabbinical Court as well as the Family Court.
Therefore, we have put together ten major tips which will facilitate the divorce procedure.
The first step is to consult an attorney who is an expert in the field of Family Law, for advice on the venue where the proceedings should be brought, the timing of opening the case as well as whether to take preliminary steps - if necessary. Whether to bring proceeding in the Family Court or the Rabbinical Court currently depends at present mainly on the circumstances of the case and not necessarily according to the known routine – men apply to the Rabbinical Court whereas women to the Family Court. Only after reviewing the particular personal circumstances will it be possible to determine where it is appropriate to open a case.
It is very important to engage an expert lawyer, whose main practice is in the field of family laws, and is therefore knowledgeable about ruling, legislation innovations, knows well the judges, the materia and the typical conduct of the Family Court and the Rabbinical Court.
Tip – When selecting a lawyer it is important to choose one whose world-view is consistent with your world-view, a lawyer who will have in mind only your interests and needs and will serve them, and them exclusively.
One should turn to a lawyer specializing in Family Law without delay. It is often hard accept that your marriage is about to end and you are on the verge of divorce proceedings. This may lead to overlooking the clear signs such as: absences from home, sleeping away from home, strange phone calls and declarations such as "I want a divorce" etc.
Timing is very important in managing divorce proceedings: a delay might cause you not to be the leading party but rather the defending one thus not having the choice of where the proceeding are to be conducted – a choice of substantial importance.
It is very important not to act in a capricious manner, e.g. sending aggressive and/or threatening SMS messages due to momentary rage. No message should be sent without your lawyer first approving the wording – otherwise, any such message may be presented in Court and harm your case.
Appropriate good understanding should be reached, under the guidance of a lawyer regarding the visitation rights and any necessary changes should be made by prior proper notice. Whenever any change occurs during the proceedings, prior notification and coordination should be secured, and if the changes are made following the Court order – they should be made in coordination and by consent. In the event that consent cannot be reached – the meetings of a parent with the child should not be cancelled unilaterallybutthe lawyer should be asked to issue an appropriate request to the other party.
Something to think about – children may easily discover loopholes and try to manipulate the parents – therefore they should be given a joint message from both parents…
Example – a child who received a message that it is not worthwhile going to his father – may refuse to go to him and this has many important ramifications. Or when visiting his father the child calls the mother each time there is something he dislikes and asks her to come and take him back home – the correct conduct is to set a clear joint front to the child with the assistance of professionals, when necessary.
You should minimize the children's involvement in the divorce proceeding, avoid naming the other parent with all sorts of negative adjectives, and remember that the two of you remain the children's parents and the children must maintain a positive image of each one of you. In addition, any negative statement on your part relating to the other parent may be presented in Court and subsequently harm you.
During the marriage, one should not transfer one or more amounts from the joint bank account or from an account in your name to a new account you have opened in your name or to an account of one of your parents.
Such actions will be discovered along the way and may cause you dual damage: this will cause a bad impression on the Court which forms a view of the parties along the way and is affected by many factors. In addition, the exposure of having transferred funds may affect other issues for determination and it may be necessary to refund the money as part of the process of balancing of assets.
A lawyer specializing in the field will know how to protect the funds that are not due to be part of the resources to be balanced between the parties and how they may be properly extracted from the balancing process.
Be sure to pay child support, even a minimum amount, regardless of the decisions concerning the division of assets. Sometimes one may mistakenly think that the economic difficulty burdening you justifies a withholding of child support that has been ordered.
One should not consult many "experts" and lawyers particularly after the proceedings have began and are underway.
It is important duly to select the right lawyer who suits you from the legal, ethical and personal aspect without concessions in any of the fields. Considerable thought and consultation should be invested in the preliminary stage of selecting the lawyer, in order to ensure that you have chosen the right person.
Tip – If in the course of the proceedings you have realized that the representation does not reflect your wish and interests – you may ask for "a second opinion". Obviously, in order for the second opinion to be professional there is no use holding a counseling meeting without the entire file. Therefore it is essential to deliver to the person preparing the second opinion all the Court's papers which have been exchanged in the proceedings, the minutes and decisions that have already been made – only in this way will it be possible to prepare a serious and professional second opinion.
The Golden Tip – Selecting a lawyer – The most important thing at the beginning of the divorce proceedings is to select a lawyer. First of all, it is important to make sure that the lawyer you have selected practices mainly in the field of Family Law and is well versed in the ruling, up- to- date legislation , knows well the judges, the practice area and the typical conduct of the Family Court and the Rabbinical Court.
This is very important yet not enough.
What else? It is also important that the lawyer you have selected matches your world- view and will not demand of you to adapt to his world-view – a good lawyer in the family field understands that between a couple going through divorce proceedings there is no room for fanning passions and understands that this is not about corporate liquidation and that here there are no winners but this involves proceedings that are conducted with great discretion, and with one clear objective – to end the proceeding with minimum pain in a manner that will minimize the involvement of minors and the misuse of minors within the process.
And what else? A good lawyer in the field of Family Law will attempt to ensure that the proceedings are concluded with a good agreement. A good agreement is the one which gives both parties a reasonable feeling. Divorce proceedings which end with one of you having a bad feeling of exploitation and harm – will later on cause additional conflicts and will also take its toll in the future conduct in the course of the communication between you, and that would a great pity since your communications may last many years due to your having mutual children.
And what else? A good lawyer in the field of Family Law will know - on the one hand – to hope and strive for the best – i.e., strive to achieve a divorce agreement through negotiations, and - on the other hand – a good lawyer in the field of Family Law will also know to prepare for any scenario, possessing the professional experience stamina to cope also with a difficult and on-going process.
Gila Barzili, Lawyer
With you and for you throughout the way.
This document does not constitute legal advice and does not replace legal personal counseling.