Dirty methods of retaliation against your soon-to-be-ex may appear to be a good idea at the moment. Retaliating against your ex may give you a sense of satisfaction in believing that you are bringing your ex to justice or giving him or her what he or she deserves.
The truth is that filthy divorce practices rarely benefit the perpetrator and almost always lead to resentment. In the same way that the bombing of Pearl Harbor awoke a sleeping giant, dirty divorce practices might motivate the other side. Defeat the want to be vindictive during your divorce proceedings, because you might find out that the joke is on you. Here are a few examples of things you should avoid:
1. Don’t hand over anything to him.
A female client is thinking of moving out of her husband’s house. If she tells her husband that she wants to leave, he appears to stop her. It must be carried out behind his back. She is enraged by him and wishes to avenge herself, so she takes everything in the house with her when she departs. When he gets home, he has nothing to sit on and nothing to cook with. She thinks she’s demonstrated something to him, but all she’s done is agitate him and throw down the gauntlet for all-out conflict.
2. Remove all of your credit cards from your wallet.
My client was a mother of three whose doctor husband was having an affair with a nurse. My client chose to wait before suing her husband for infidelity in the hopes of reaching an amicable conclusion.
My client had just arrived home from a long trip with one of her children and was going to pay for gas when her card was declined. Her husband, who makes roughly $1 million a year, abruptly cancelled all of her credit cards. To put it mildly, the good doctor obtained an adultery complaint as well as a temporary hearing in which the judge was informed of his acts.
3. Obtain his discharge from the company.
The zeal with which offended spouses seek to have their ex fired or in trouble with the IRS or, in one example, the Securities and Exchange Commission never ceases to amaze me. What may they be thinking while attempting to cobble together enough money from their spouse to make ends meet? What an instance of self-inflicted wounding!
4. Disconnecting the power supply.
This is without a doubt one of the nastiest divorce schemes. Many people have contacted me to claim that their phone, power, or cable has been turned off without warning at their home. A downward spiral of attacks and counterattacks results from such a strategy.
5. Make the Paramour’s Partner aware.
When an affair is discovered, it is usual practice to call the paramour’s spouse and inform them of the situation. As a result, that spouse may file an alienation of affection action, potentially jeopardizing the marital estate. This is unquestionably a self-destructive decision. (There are times when disclosing this information is advantageous, but the lawyer, not the client, should do it.)
6. Take your children out of the state.
Such a move appeared like a terrific way to get even with your spouse at the moment. However, some cases suggest that it can be a viable strategy for obtaining a judge’s permission to give your husband custody in exchange for your bad behavior. In a number of jurisdictions, it is considered abduction.
7. Clear out your checking and savings accounts.
While this may provide some relief and security in the short term, it may also result in an emergency hearing and the fees associated with it. It may also endow the perpetrator with an unjust taint from which he or she may never be able to free themselves. (There are times when this is absolutely necessary, but only with counsel’s permission and for very good reason.)
8. File a Complaint for Child Abuse.
I believe that few people intentionally create false allegations of abuse, but it is all too usual for persons going through a divorce to manipulate normal situations to their benefit. The fact is that judges are well aware of this. Allow no one to speak to your child if there is a risk of abuse, and take them to a professional who is trained in conducting abuse interviews with children. Abuse charges can come from both sides, so be cautious before casting stones. Allow the professionals to take care of it.
9. Make your husband embarrassed.
Many people want to humiliate their spouse by serving summons or subpoenas on them at work or in other embarrassing places. I’m aware of one case in which a woman requested that the process server serve her husband right before he boarded a plane to go hunting overseas. While such gestures may bring enjoyment, they can also lead to retaliation and dispute escalation. Keep in mind that they will one day be able to embarrass you in the same way that they embarrassed you.
10. Pull the trigger just because you can.
There are many opportunities to file anything, take legal action, or seek a sanction during the course of a divorce, but the preferable alternative is to postpone or avoid taking action. For example, your husband is an adulterous. You have proof in your hands. You might assume that because the opportunity arises, you must file an adultery case. However, history has proven that examining the situation and determining when or if such action would be most beneficial is often the wisest course of action. For example, the mere threat of legal action may be more convincing in discussions than the actual filing of legal action.
All of the above rules come with the caveat that no rule should be followed if it puts one’s life in jeopardy. You must perform certain tasks from time to time. The objective is to obtain the advice of qualified counsel and to ensure that your relationship with your counsel is not adversarial for the sole goal of causing a dispute.
Rather than concentrating your efforts on injuring your ex, be sure that every action you take is intended to help you get closer to a great outcome, not only to gain a temporary advantage or to satisfy an unproductive emotion. Let’s keep it that way, shall we?
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