No matter how mutual or agreeable the decision to divorce is between you and your spouse, it is not unusual for the divorce process to quickly turn ugly. Often as the process moves forward, a spouse may feel like he or she is losing control of the situation or may get some bad advice. Before you know it, you are in the middle of a war.
While you certainly don’t want to be the one to stir things up, you also want to be alert to signs that your spouse is taking steps that may hurt you financially or to disrupt or prolong the divorce process. You may also face the real danger that your spouse will try to negatively influence your chances for a fair custody arrangement.
Be prepared for the worst
Your financial future may depend on the outcome of property division during your divorce. As much as you may want to keep things amicable with your spouse, you will also want to protect your assets and secure them as soon as possible in the process. This may mean closing joint credit accounts, starting your own separate bank accounts and taking a thorough inventory of your joint property. Otherwise, your ex may take advantage of the situation to do any of the following:
- Running up additional charges on your joint credit accounts, leaving you with excessive debt to deal with after the divorce
- Refusing to continue contributing to household expenses, such as mortgage payments, utility bills and other items you cannot afford on your own
- Withdrawing all or most of the money from your joint bank accounts
- Waiting until the last possible day of the grace period to pay any temporary court-ordered support
In addition to financial games, your spouse may use more personal tactics to express his or her unhappiness. For example, your spouse may refuse to speak to you, requiring you to communicate through your attorneys. Your spouse may also refuse to allow you access to the children or petition for primary custody despite any verbal agreements to share parenting time and responsibilities. You may face numerous pointless petitions that keep you running back to court.
Any of these tactics may be a form of retaliation or an effort to wear you down emotionally and financially. Preparing for the possibility that your spouse may engage in these destructive behaviors is a smart idea, and your Texas attorney can advise you on the most appropriate steps to take to protect yourself.