What is a Divorce War?

This is part 1 of a 2  part series of articles authored by a Rhode Island divorce lawyer concerning divorce in RI. This legal article answers the question: “What is a divorce war”

I do not think that divorce in Rhode Island should be considered or treated as a “war.”

Providence Family Court

Rhode Island law divorce

Sometimes spouses engage in bad behavior and the divorce is so nasty, bitter and out of control that it can only be described as a “war.” I also do not think a typical divorce, visitation or child custody case in which the parties engage in discovery, disagreements, negotiations and many court hearings constitutes a war! A “divorce war” is something more, something much more. One U.S. Supreme Court justice stated he knows pornography when he sees it.

PART 2 of 2: The Rules Of War:

I know a divorce war when I see it!

I STRONGLY dislike these unseemly brouhaha’s that no one can really win in the end. I make a concerted effort to prevent a war. However, I am willing to zealously fight for my client if I cannot prevent a battle royale. Some of you covet a figurative “bare knuckle brawl”. Unbelievably, some of you get an emotional high from the give and take of these endless battles and enjoy the war. Here are some of the hallmarks of a divorce war: (1 or 2 of these, in-itself, does not necessarily mean it is war.)

If you have three or more of these it’s a WAR!

  • One or more restraining orders / no contact orders / complaint protection from Abuse
  • Attempts to cause the other to lose employment / get your spouse fired
  • Contacting the IRS, immigration or attorney general to report unlawful or criminal behavior
  • Multiple unfounded calls to dcyf / child protective services
  • Physical altercations between spouses or between family members or significant others
  • Negative, mean spirited and disparaging remarks made to the children about the other part or the other person’s family
  • Criminal complaints and criminal charges
  • Numerous emergency motions
  • Abusive or harassing text messages or emails
  • A Facebook or Twitter propaganda war
  • Police involvement in pickup and drop-offs on one or more occasions
  • Irrational behavior in court by one or more parties
  • Baptizing child without notice
  • Hair cut by non-custodial spouse without permission
  • Complaint against opposing divorce attorney
  • Using nude pictures videos as indirect or direct leverage to get a better settlement
  • Interestingly, almost all of these actions do not directly pertain to the Court process.  

A divorce is not a war if all actions are done in Court or via negotiations between attorneys. That is contentious divorce litigation.

“Any divorce is difficult, even when the split is amicable. After all, divorce is a major transition, and change is tough. When your divorce is contentious, not surprisingly, things are harder. A lot harder. People are often caught off guard by the enormity of the divorce experience,” said Krysta Dancy, MA, MFT, a therapist who specializes in working with couples and families in Roseville, Calif. If your marriage was contentious, you probably see your divorce as a relief, so you might feel blindsided when your stress skyrockets. You might feel utterly exhausted, anxious, depressed and unfocused, Dancy said. You might start second guessing yourself. You might question your ability to make good decisions for you and your family, said Amy Broz, a marriage and family therapist intern who works with high-conflict couples. This may stem from being in an abusive marriage. “Often, the reason my clients are going through a contentious divorce to begin with is because they have been [physically, verbally or emotionally] abused in some form or another.” World of Psychology https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2016/09/05/5-suggestions-for-navigating-a-contentious-divorce/