Friday, August 28, 2015

Dealing with threats from spouse in divorce cases

A very common concern from divorce clients and people looking for information about their divorce comes in the form of, “my husband is threatening to…” or “my wife is threatening to…” with something about taking away the kids or all the property.

99.9% of the time those threats have zero basis in the law and are never going to happen. They have less to do with the law or what the person really believes they can do to you, and more to do with psychological warfare by tormenting you or scaring you into doing or not doing something. Under the Texas Family Code, divorces are just not that sinister. Usually these threats are made before the divorce petition is filed or shortly afterwards. It is common to see the spouse who does not want the divorce threatening to “take the kids and you’ll never see them” or “take everything and leave you with nothing” to scare you away from filing for divorce and staying in a bad situation. After the divorce petition is filed and the other spouse (respondent) has been served, these threats are tossed around out of anger just to torment you. The best way to avoid being scared away from filing for divorce in Texas or hire a divorce lawyer to protect your rights is to understand why these threats are untrue (or at least highly unlikely). Knowledge is power. So today’s post will address some of those common threats and how the law really works. One of the biggest issues people struggle with in dealing with a high-conflict (HCP) ex is when children are part of the equation. It’s hard enough to shed a HCP spouse or partner; when children are involved, it becomes the never-ending trickle of salt into the open wound you’re trying to heal.

As noted in a previous Shrink4Men article, the trick to neutralizing the Crazy is boundaries. For some of us, creating boundaries for ourselves is difficult enough. It becomes hellishly difficult to implement healthy boundaries when there are children to consider.
Why is it so difficult? In many cases, the answer is fear.
HCPs are predators, as Dr T and Micksbabe so aptly identified them. They know the smell of fear. If you have any, they will know it. They might not be the sharpest pencil in the box otherwise, but boy, do they know how to sniff out fear. Then they capitalize on it to the nth degree.
Once you or the HCP decide the marriage or relationship is over, you need to immediately be on your guard. At that point, regardless of what your HCP ex says, you are now the enemy in their mind. Many men are often lulled into a false sense of security by the fact that she seems to be behaving and seems to be thinking and acting rationally at the beginning of the break-up or divorce.
She is not. It’s a trap! (Think Admiral Ackbar here.) [...]
Even when you know how crazy your Crazy is, it’s hard to believe someone could act the way they do. You don’t want to believe it. You want to think the high-conflict parent loves the children as much as you do. (Honestly, they all seem to have the same large-print handbook on how to be as horrific as possible.)
HCPs know this. On some level, they know you won’t sink to the same depths they do in your desire to get what you want and they count on it. They count on you not wanting to go against your upbringing that includes manners and not behaving badly. They know your desire to behave as a decent member of society holds you back from responding to their behavior no matter what. No one wants to be the bad guy and they count on your desire to be Mr Nice Guy.
Know that. Recognize that the Crazy will not fight fair, will not behave in a way that is socially acceptable, will use your children, will threaten you and play on your fear at every opportunity, and will sacrifice herself to “win” against you. To the Crazy, any means justify their ends.
You don’t have to stoop to their level. Instead, prepare yourself from a legal standpoint. Again, do your research and understand the laws you’ll be subject to once in the court system. Document the Crazy behavior and show how the Crazy does not support a positive relationship between your kids and yourself.  Also, understand the financial implications. Get very familiar with your state’s child support guidelines. Even if you have an attorney, having this knowledge will serve you well. [...]
In Dr. Baker’s book, she profiles horrible stories of alienation. All of the children who were victims of PAS eventually stepped away from their alienating parent, and went about attempting to resurrect the relationship with the target parent. This was true even in some of the most awful cases.
While it may not seem to be doing much at the time, your children will remember who loved them and demonstrated it using more than words, who was there for them, and who didn’t hop on the Crazy train and drive it into the abyss.
Do your due diligence, get professional support if you need it, focus on long-term gains instead of the short-term, permanent present guerrilla warfare tactics many HCPs engage in and you and your children will survive this. [...]

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