In 2021, the Austria-wide divorce rate was around 37 percent. In Vienna, for example, people get divorced more often than in Tyrol. A divorce is always the end of something big. Before a divorce, there was once the idea of spending the rest of the life with another person. But apart from the emotional consequences of a divorce, there are also the economic ones. Marriage is not only a more or less romantic love affair, but also a contract. In the best case, divorce does not put you in an existentially threatening financial situation. To say that divorce is a systematic destruction of assets is harsh. What is true is that, unfortunately, a divorce does not lead to a magical increase in money, but it does suddenly result in double costs. In order to avoid financial hardship, it helps to avoid common mistakes in divorce proceedings:
mistakes in divorce proceedings
A particularly common misconception is that cheating in marriage is no longer a legal problem. This is not true. It is true that sexual infidelity is no longer an absolute reason for divorce, but adultery is still marital misconduct. Under the principle of fault, which is still valid in Austria, in the case of a disputed divorce it is very much a question of who is “to blame” for the failure of the marriage. If a court decides that one person is solely or predominantly to blame for the break-up of the marriage, this may under certain circumstances lead to spousal support having to be paid even after the divorce. It is therefore legally advisable to wait until after the divorce before entering into a new relationship. Sometimes PI´s are even hired in divorce proceedings in order to be able to prove any indiscretions on the part of the partner in court.
Not having an overview of the financial situation
In the face of an impending separation, many people realize that they neither know what their spouse earns, nor are they aware of any savings, loans or monthly costs. Often people do not even know how much they are spending on electricity or gas for example. However, it is essential to know such figures – also with regard to possible negotiations for an amicable solution. What (bank)accounts exist and which credit balances, what is the income situation (of the other person), are there (joint) assets, what about any properties/loans and monthly costs? Especially if divorce or separation is not yet officialy on the table, necessary documents are often still available, for example in the joint document folder or at the kitchen table. It is worth taking a look at them. A copy or even a mobile phone photo is helpful. Surprisingly, documents of this kind often tend to disappear after the announcement of the wish for divorce. It is difficult to make claims on (joint) assets that you do not know exist. It is legally not advisable to spy, open letters, hack passwords or do anything of that kind. However, it is not forbidden to look closely or to find something when cleaning up.
Informing the partner or “mutual” friends too early
Even if you have always got on well with your mother-in-law, it is not advisable to discuss plans or requests for divorce with your partner’s family. It is certainly not advisable to share legal strategy with mutual friends or family members. They may pass this information on to the partner concerned. Especially when one part is still emotionally attached and is seeking reconciliation, people tend to tell the other part about conversations with one’s attorney as well. This is emotionally understandable but legally inadvisable. It also makes a lot of sense to change all passwords for your own emails or social networks. No one wants their email correspondence with their lawyer or vacation plans with their new sweetheart disclosed, in a divorce proceeding.
Moving out of the matrimonial home
Moving out of the marital home is a particularly easy mistake to avoid. Moving out can immensly weaken your position. Many people tend to move out – temporarily – in a conflictual situation. Don’t. It can be considered “malicious abandonment” and be relevant as marital misconduct in divorce proceedings. Sometimes the other party then claims that the relationship was not over, but that moving out was the straw that broke the camel’s back. It is also easy to prove that a person has moved out. In addition, there is also something called the normative force of the factual. If, for example, one wants to assert a claim to the marital home or an urgent need for accommodation, moving out is not a good idea. With joint underage children, additional problems can arise.
Avoid acts of interference with posession
Even if you would like to just be over and done with the other person and certainly do not fancy living together anymore, there are things to consider in a marriage, before a divorce. You cannot just kick your spouse out. Even if it is your home. The marital home is specially protected. For example, if you have the locks changed on the matrimonial home that can constitute interference with possession. It can also be an interference with possession if, for example, the previously jointly used car or telephone is taken away or other jointly used objects are removed from the matrimonial home. Such behaviour can not only lead to legal proceedings for interference with possession, but is also not well received in divorce proceedings.
About the divorce and the usage of social media read more here.