A common theme when approaching divorce is fear. Of course there is fear of the unknown, but what about the fear that results from spousal threats?


  1. I will tell the court that you—had an affair, use anti-anxiety medication, have a couple of glasses of wine in a day. I will get sole custody and you will lose the kids.” The standard the court considers is ‘the best interests of the children’ and most likely these issues are irrelevant and none of these facts would have any effect on a court’s custody decision. 
  1. I will quit my job so I don’t have to pay you support!” Not so fast! Once you have proven yourself able to earn a given level of income, the court will hold you to that earning capacity for support calculation purposes whether you stay at that job or not.
  1. You are selfish/all about the money/taking MY money.” You are entitled to your share according to what the law allows. The legislature and the courts have done their best to establish rules for equitable justice between the parties. Each spouse has contributed in his or her own way to the financial enterprise that was your marriage. Once the marriage is over, yes it is about the money.
  1. If you don’t do this my way, you’ll get nothing.” The dominant spouse is used to being in charge. He or she is losing control. Your marital property will be divided and support will be awarded pursuant to state divorce laws.
  1. You will be on the streets.” See answers to #3 and #4.
  1. I will spend everything I/we have just to fight you.” Keep in mind that threats are all he or she has left to use for control. This is a common threat. You are not alone and the threatening spouse isn’t being very creative.

These aggressive threats are intended to control you. They are very common and amount to emotional and psychological abuse. It’s understandable to react with fear. There is no escaping that you will need courage and perseverance.

Your first tactical advantage may be that the threatening spouse will underestimate you by thinking he or she is the smartest person in the room. Prepare yourself with knowledge. Responsibly separate yourself from these baseless threats to take away the opportunity for the threatening spouse to engage, disparage and upset you. And remember that these threats are an effort to gain control and not based on the true rule of law.