The Divorcing Person’s Guide To The Psychological Warfare Of Words
Filing for divorce? Over the next several months, your soon to be ex will undoubtedly spout off ugly and angry statements. This guide is to inform you on how to handle this nonsense:
- Your ex says: “Wait ‘til I tell the judge that (insert some fact about you that could be seen in a bad light) and you will never get the children.” The fact could be that you had an affair, or that you are seeing a therapist, or that you drink alcohol or smoke marijuana, or any number of other situations.
- How to react: As difficult as it may be, simply ignore such statements. Chances are that whatever your ex believes will affect custody likely has no bearing on what is in the best interest of the child or children and will be disregarded by the court.
- Your ex says: “Your attorney is a lightweight,” or “your attorney only cares about the money,” or “let’s use my attorney and save money,” etc., etc. etc.
- How to react: Once again, simply ignore such comments. These are divide-and-conquer tactics. The best way to save on attorney’s fees is to negotiate in good faith and quickly come to an agreement that both parties can live with.
- Your ex says: “Unless you play this my way, you’ll never get a dime.” (Usually, this is said by a party who used to be in charge of things and wants to control the dissolution.)
- How to react: You guessed it – don’t react. Regardless of such idle threats, the reality is that California law is well established regarding division of community property. Consequently, the likely outcome is that the community property will be evenly divided, and support will be awarded in accordance with the schedule.
- Your ex says: “Why are you trying to take my money?” This includes items such as pension, savings, home, car, etc.
- How to react: Here, if you wish to respond, you can say that you not after the other person’s money and only seek your share of the community property assets, which you are entitled to it. But again, the best approach is to simply ignore such statements.
- Your ex says: “I’ll go to jail before I pay you a dime.”
- How to react: “So be it.” There are various ways to enforce support obligations, including wage assignments, and contempt actions, which can ultimately lead to some jail time. In practice, however, parties usually pay when facing the prospect of incarceration.
- Your ex says: “I’ll quit my job before I pay you that kind of money.”
- How to react: Get a witness to that statement. By proving that a party is willfully attempting to suppress his or her income may lead to the Court imputing income upon the party, leading to the support obligation continuing at the same rate as when the party had the employment.
- Your ex says: “Based on my expenses, you’ll have to give me more support.”
- How to react: This only applies when there are extraordinary expenses. Usually, the supported spouse will get less money than needed and the supporting spouse will pay more money than can be afforded.
- Your Ex Says: You’ll never see the kids again.”
- How to react: This is a popular threat. But there are laws in place to ensure that this does not happen, and to facilitate the return of the child(ren) in the unlikely event of abduction. Moreover, if a party fears the other party may take the child(ren) and not return them, Court Orders can be put in place enjoining parties from leaving the country, the state, and even the county without prior written agreement or Court Order. And keep in mind that failure to follow agree upon custody orders will often lead to the Court awarding additional custodial time to the non-offending party.
- Your ex says: “I will consider reconciling with you only if you sign this agreement.”
- How to react: Do not fall prey to such blackmail. If your ex wishes to reconcile, it should not be contingent on you signing away your rights.
- Your ex says: “Either you agree to my terms or the judge will make us sell everything.”
- How to react: First, the court will rarely order the sale of community assets. Instead, will encourage the parties to come to an agreement or will award the assets as evenly as possible and order an equalization payment to make up any difference.
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