Legally Protecting Yourself During a Difficult Divorce


Divorce can be an incredibly stressful process. While some couples manage to have amicable divorces, there are some divorces that just go bad, either due to hard feelings on both sides, or because of a difficult spouse who refuses to engage in a productive manner.

If you’re struggling with a difficult divorce, here are some guidelines to keep in mind in order to best protect your interests, and the interests of any dependents you may have.

Document all communications with your spouse.

At times it may be convenient or seemingly productive to engage in a face-to-face discussion of your spouse. However, unless you live in a “one-party consent” state and record your conversations, you have no means of actually proving the existence of any verbal agreements that are made while speaking to your spouse. Never assume that your spouse will tell the truth about verbal conversations in court.

This is why we strongly recommend having all important conversations via email, text message, instant messaging, or any other process which provides you with a written record. If you communicate by text message, be sure to make copies by either taking screenshots (and saving them somewhere besides your phone) or archiving your messages.

Remember that divorce is a legal process, and try and approach all divorce-related matters with a level head.

While you are going through your divorce—and long after—you are going to struggle with a long procession of difficult emotions: sadness, disappointment, anger, fear, loss of self-worth, and so on. This is normal.

Unfortunately, divorce isn’t designed to deal with the emotional ramifications of dissolving a long-term relationship. Divorce is merely a legal remedy for the legal construct of marriage. As difficult as it is, do your best to remember that divorce is a legal proceeding. Approach the legal aspects of your divorce of a clear head.

Regardless of how difficult your spouse is being, your divorce is a means for you to being a new path—a new future—for yourself. Work the process, and work towards your goals for the future.

Hire a divorce lawyer.

As we said, divorce is a legal process—a difficult one at that. Too many people assume that doing without a lawyer is the easiest, cheapest way of securing a divorce, only to get bogged down in endless disputes with a spouse who abuses the legal system.

A good divorce lawyer experienced with contested divorces can help to expedite the divorce process by keeping the litigation focused on relevant matters. If your spouse is abusing the legal process, your lawyer will have the experience necessary to know when it’s advisable to file a “Request for Order” to sanction your spouse for violations of family court rules, and be able to recognize harassment that merits an injunction or restraining order.

Remember: It’s a lawyer’s job to shield you, make your divorce as easy as possible, and save you money. If you’re facing a challenging divorce, a lawyer is an asset, not a liability.

Work with a therapist.

Too many people treat their attorneys as therapists, repeatedly venting about past disagreements they can’t let go of. This is not a terribly cost effective use of your lawyer’s time, whereas an actual therapist can provide you the emotional support you need.

In any divorce—let alone in a drawn out, difficult divorce—a therapist can be incredibly helpful. Even if you choose not to take advantage of therapy, if you have children, make sure that they spend time with a counselor both during and after the divorce.

As we’ve said, divorce is an emotional process. Therapy is an opportunity to deal with the emotional fallout of that process in a supportive, constructive environment.

Do you need assistance with your divorce?

Don’t hesitate to hire an experienced divorce lawyer. A high-stress spouse will often derail the divorce process. A good lawyer will help keep the process on track and reduce the amount of time you spend sitting in a court room.

If you’re facing a divorce and aren’t sure what to do next, please feel free to call us at 916-400-4516, or use our contact form to send us a message. We offer free consultations, as well as a stress-free, supportive environment. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need assistance with your divorce.