What Obstacles Will I Face in My Divorce?

Just when you think that you have your divorce all figured out, your spouse may do something that complicates the process and threatens your plan. Often, it won’t—in your mind—have a thing to do with what you see as the real issues. You’re now forced to deal with some new issue, defend yourself, or perhaps engage in all-out confrontation, in response to your spouse’s unexpected behavior.

The cost goes up for each task added to a legal proceeding. In divorce, the toll is emotional as well as financial. You may want to retaliate. Take a breather, calm down and think clearly before you do. Unexpected problems come up in many divorces, and yet the overwhelming number of cases are settled by agreement rather than decided by a judge. You usually have the power either to defuse a touchy situation or to inflame it.

You’ll be less likely to be rattled if you have some understanding of the type of obstacle your spouse may throw in your path. This chapter will, more importantly, help prepare you to deal with real-world examples. The following eight situations are listed in order of increasing seriousness in terms of the level of the response necessary to protect your case preparation and your interests.

First, if your spouse seems to be out to delay the divorce, one way to get the process moving again is to terminate your marital status early, but only after a careful evaluation of the risk involved.

Second, learn how to judge just how much unreasonableness is too much, and what your choices are in response.

Third, consider whether to use the very serious contempt proceeding, with possible criminal punishment, to enforce court orders.

Fourth, learn about jurisdictional disputes, increasingly frequent in our mobile society, which usually require adding another lawyer to your team.

Fifth, evaluate two simple suggestions that may save your business.

Sixth, examine the limited responses to your spouse’s filing for bankruptcy, and its effect upon your case.

Seventh, be warned about explosive cases, extremely draining to deal with and capable of consuming everything you have.

Eighth, as an example of how the law has extreme remedies to deal with extreme situations, examine the use of a receiver; rarely used in family law actions, but comforting to have available.

Finally, we’ll review a few types of exasperating behavior from your spouse’s attorney—and a sensible response.

You can greatly reduce the impact of your spouse’s “bad” behavior by the way in which you respond. Remember that while the following examples are real problems experienced by others in divorce, your response must always be tailored to your unique situation.