Ten Ways To Have a Really Bad Divorce
By Allison Quattrocchi, Mediator/Attorney
- Badmouth your spouse to family, friends and your children – "It takes a village," to quote Hilary Clinton's bestselling book. Now there won't be one.
- Turn your children against the other parent – You are throwing your children into the bonfire of your own pain and anger toward the other parent. You can probably count on payback from your children in the future, not to mention the payback in the divorce.
- Wipe out the bank account – What is your motivation - cheat, punish, financially paralyze the other spouse, or protect yourself? If it is for protection, take only your half. Whatever your reason, wiping out the bank account will escalate the anger, probably land you in court, and not find favor with a judge.
- Threaten your spouse – "If you don't do 'x', I will see to it you get nothing," or "you won't ever see the kids" or multiple other renditions. Words like these are motivated by fear of losing control, but it is the best way to lose control. A judge can set you straight. Rethink this strategy for your own benefit as well as that of your family.
- Flaunt your boyfriend or girlfriend – The increased pain, humiliation and anger this behavior will inspire will backfire. It is mean spirited and will probably cost you on several levels. Not smart.
- Destroy your spouse's property – Let's hope your spouse has more common sense than you do at the moment and doesn't retaliate. Try a punching bag instead.
- Hide Assets – Obviously there is no sense of honor here and it is a surefire path to spending a lot of money on litigation.
- Blame your spouse for the divorce – Seldom, if ever, is divorce one person's fault and the law doesn't care anyway. Each spouse can usually produce his or her own laundry list of the other spouse's failures and few of us are blessed with a halo. This behavior just digs a deeper emotional hole out of which you will have to climb. The most common cause for blame is "the affair." The "experts" will tell you an affair is usually a symptom, not the cause.
- Seek revenge - Ancient Chinese Proverb - "If you seek revenge, you had better dig two graves." Enough said.
- Lock your spouse out of the house – This triggers rage. Although it is probably best for almost every couple who is divorcing to separate, you would be well advised to do it with some level of cooperation or, if this fails, use the appropriate legal channels.
If you are headed for divorce, do it with as much dignity as possible for the benefit of all concerned. One of the best and healthiest ways to divorce is to mediate. Mediation does not preclude representation. Attorneys can be used very successfully in conjunction with the mediation process.