I often tell people to monitor their responses to emotions during the divorce process. Being able to respond rationally to negative feelings during this time helps keep down the cost of your divorce and will make the process less conflicted.
What happens when the other spouse isn’t able to monitor their responses and react in a rational manner though? If he/she insists on using dirty divorce tricks the best thing you can do is keep your cool, for your sake and the sake of your children.
You can also arm yourself with knowledge of what might come your way. Doing this will help keep your expectations low which in turn, will help you respond to an irrational ex in a way that does not do more harm. Below are some common tactics used by an angry spouse during the divorce process.
What to Expect During Divorce From a Spouse Who Doesn’t Fight Fair:
- Accusations of Abuse of You or Your Children: Getting a restraining order against a husband is a practice some women use against men in order to gain sole legal custody or have the husband removed from the marital home. Guard against this happening by refusing to engage in any form of conflict in person, via email or over the phone.
- Limiting Access to Marital Assets: If you are a stay-at-home mother who is dependent on the salary of her husband, he can use his ability to limit your access to money as a form of punishment during the divorce process. To keep this from happening make sure that your name is on all marital assets before filing for a divorce. This includes all bank accounts, credit card accounts that you don’t close and retirement fund accounts that you expect to draw from.
- Use of The Discovery Process to Delay The Divorce Process: During the discovery process your divorce attorney will request documents from your spouse related to income and assets. A spouse can stall the process by refusing to respond to such requests. Or, he/she may send a barrage of requests to your via his/her attorney attempting to bog you down in paperwork.
To protect yourself from a spouse who will use the courts to abuse you hire an attorney who will not hesitate to use the Family Court System to force a response when a spouse uses such tactics.
- Renege on Verbal Agreements: Most going through the divorce process work at making sure it is not riddled with conflict. In doing so they can make the mistake of believing that their spouse will stand by any verbal agreements made between the two. I always suggest there be a legal document drawn up and signed by both spouses and their attorneys, just to cover yourself.
Such a document can be used in court to prove a spouse’s intent to take part in a verbal agreement. If push comes to shove you will have evidence that can be used as proof that your ex intended for a particular action to take place.
- Ask For 50/50 Custody: This will anger some men BUT there are situations where a father will request either full or 50/50 custody to scare a wife into settling for less during divorce settlement negotiations. A wife may be willing to take less than she is entitled to if it means retaining full custody of her children. Your best bet is to offer 50/50 custody from the beginning. This takes away any leverage a husband can use and it is in the best interest of the children to spend equal time with two parents who love them.
- Spying to Dig Up Dirt: My ex had a keystroke program installed on my computer and bugged my home phone during our separation. He thought he would gain information he could use in divorce court against me. He didn’t succeed but don’t be surprised if your angry ex attempts to do the same in your situation. Don’t do or say anything online or via the phone that will give him/her ammunition to use in court.
The quickest way to end up with an empty bank account is to fight dirty during divorce. If you keep it clean and refuse to fight “fire with fire” during this time your spouse’s dirty tricks will all be revealed in time.
Giving in and getting down and dirty yourself gets you nowhere and leaves a stain on your character that you will live with permanently. Take the high road, don’t do anything you will one day look back on with shame.