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An angry spouse can complicate divorce

Photo of Karen Lavin

Your decision to file for divorce in Illinois family court likely came at great personal cost. While you weren't sure how your spouse would take the news, you knew it was the right choice for your own peace of mind. You may have played the scenario over in your imagination, practicing the words you would use to break it to your spouse.

However, if you already know your spouse is prone to reacting to negative situations with irrational outbursts, the thought of dealing with such behavior throughout divorce proceedings is likely something you are dreading. In fact, your spouse's anger issues may be part of your reasons for deciding to end the marriage. Nevertheless, you may wonder how to deal with this over the next few months.

Common reactions of a vengeful spouse

A spouse who feels blindsided or wronged by the request for a divorce may resort to unfair tactics as a way of seeking revenge. You may already have experience with your spouse's manipulative actions, but there is a lot at stake in a divorce, so your reaction may be critical. Some ways in which an angry spouse may fight during a divorce include:

  • Challenging your right to child custody
  • Using spyware or private detectives to gather dirt on you
  • Dragging out the process by refusing to respond to your attorney's requests
  • Instructing his or her attorney to bog you down with discovery requests
  • Blocking you from access to marital assets

To ensure your assets are available, divorce advisors recommend you make sure your name is on all relevant accounts, including bank accounts, retirement funds and credit cards. You may also want to open a new bank account in your own name -- before you serve your spouse with divorce papers -- and transfer some money there for your living expenses.

Seeking help when you need it most

One of the most devastating weapons an angry spouse may use is the children. Your love for your children is an easy mark, and if your spouse is acting irrationally, you may expect to face accusations of child abuse or even spousal abuse. If your spouse files for a restraining order as a method of securing custody of the children, it is important not to retaliate or react with emotion.

In fact, seeking legal counsel at the earliest possible opportunity may provide you with advice for avoiding or preempting some of these schemes. You have every right to look forward to a new life without the encumbrance of an unhappy marriage. Handling the negative responses of your spouse with dignity and reason is a step in the right direction.

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