Tactics Used by a Vindictive Spouse During Divorce

Divorce can be an emotionally taxing experience, and unfortunately, some spouses may resort to vindictive behavior during the process. It is essential to be aware of the common tricks employed by vindictive spouses to better protect yourself and navigate through this challenging time. In this blog, we discuss what tactics vindictive parties may use as well as tips for dealing with a vindictive spouse during divorce.

Common Tricks Used by a Vindictive Spouse During Divorce

Below, we will explore nine common tactics used by vindictive spouses during a divorce and provide insights on how to deal with them effectively.

  1. Delaying court hearings. One tactic frequently employed by vindictive spouses is continuously requesting continuances of court hearings without valid reasons. This strategy aims to prolong the divorce proceedings, causing frustration and financial strain for the other party. To counter this, it is crucial to maintain open communication with your attorney and be proactive in pushing for timely progress.

  1. Changing attorneys repeatedly. Vindictive spouses may change attorneys repeatedly to increase expenses, delay proceedings, and disrupt the other party's legal strategy. Recognize this tactic and try to stay focused on the ultimate goal of finalizing the divorce. Remain consistent with your chosen legal representation and seek advice from trusted professionals to mitigate the impact of this trick.

  1. Emptying joint accounts. To gain control or cause financial hardship, a vindictive spouse might empty joint bank accounts. This can leave the other party in a vulnerable financial position. To safeguard your interests, monitoring joint accounts regularly and separating finances as early as possible during the divorce process is advisable. You should also inform your attorney if your spouse uses or depletes marital assets.

  1. Maxing out joint credit cards. Like emptying bank accounts, maxing out joint credit cards is another tactic to create financial chaos. By accumulating excessive debt, the vindictive spouse aims to burden the other party and hinder their post-divorce financial stability. Be vigilant about monitoring credit card activity and consult with a financial advisor or attorney to protect your credit and ensure fair distribution of debts.

  1. Alienating you from loved ones. Vindictive spouses may attempt to isolate and alienate their partner from friends, family, and support networks. By spreading false narratives or manipulating situations, they aim to undermine emotional support and create a sense of isolation. Maintain open lines of communication with trusted loved ones, seek therapy if needed, and document instances of such behavior to present it in court, if necessary.

  1. Using an order of protection inappropriately. Vindictive spouses may resort to spreading false accusations, such as abuse, neglect, or infidelity, to tarnish the other party's reputation. Abusing the legal system, they might obtain (or try to obtain) an order of protection unjustly. This can be done to force the other party out of their shared home or gain a tactical advantage during custody disputes. If you find yourself facing false allegations, consult with your attorney immediately to protect your rights and challenge any unfounded claims. While the court takes these claims seriously, they also take false and malicious allegations just as earnestly.

  1. Withholding parenting time. A common tactic used by vindictive spouses is to withhold parenting time from the other party. This can be emotionally distressing for both the parent and the child involved. However, if you have temporary orders in place, they cannot violate those orders. You can have them found in contempt if they do not allow you your right to court-ordered visitation.

  1. Hiding assets. Some vindictive spouses may try to conceal assets or manipulate financial information to gain an unfair advantage during property division and alimony negotiations. It is essential to work closely with a forensic accountant or financial expert who can assist in uncovering hidden assets and ensure a fair distribution of wealth.

  1. Using emotional manipulation. Last but not least, emotional manipulation is a powerful tactic used by vindictive spouses during divorce. They may play mind games, use guilt trips, or try to manipulate the emotions of the other party to gain an upper hand. It's crucial to prioritize self-care, seek therapy if needed, and maintain clear boundaries to protect yourself from emotional harm.

How to Deal with a Vindictive Spouse During Divorce

Going through a divorce with a vindictive spouse can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. To help you navigate this difficult process, we have compiled ten effective tips that can assist you in dealing with a vindictive spouse during a divorce:

1. Maintain Clear and Respectful Communication

Open and respectful communication is crucial when dealing with a vindictive spouse during a divorce. Avoid engaging in confrontations or responding to their provocations. Instead, focus on concise, fact-based communication regarding legal matters and children.

It is also important to keep all communication documented and consider using tools like email or messaging apps for transparency and accountability.

Practical application: Instead of engaging in heated arguments, respond to your spouse's provocations with neutral statements such as, "I understand your concerns, and I will discuss them with my attorney."

2. Seek Professional Legal Guidance

Navigating a divorce is complex, especially when dealing with a vindictive spouse. It is essential to consult with an experienced family law attorney who can guide you through the legal process, protect your rights and advocate on your behalf. They can provide valuable advice tailored to your specific situation.

3. Focus on the Bigger Picture

During a divorce with a vindictive spouse, it's easy to get caught up in petty disputes. Instead, maintain focus on the bigger picture – securing a fair settlement and protecting your well-being. Prioritize your emotional and financial stability and avoid being drawn into unnecessary arguments that can prolong the divorce process.

For instance, rather than arguing about minor assets, focus on equitable distribution and reaching a resolution that is in the best interest of both parties. You should also consider what compromises you can make with the big picture in mind.

4. Practice Emotional Regulation

Dealing with a vindictive spouse can trigger intense emotions, but it is crucial to regulate your emotions for your own well-being. Engage in stress-reduction techniques, such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, therapy, or support groups. These strategies can help you remain calm and composed during difficult interactions.

5. Maintain Detailed Records

As we mentioned, you should keep meticulous records of all interactions with your spouse; you should also have records of financial transactions and parenting matters when dealing with a vindictive spouse.

Save emails, text messages, voicemails, and any other relevant communication to present a clear record of events. Organized documentation can serve as evidence in court and protect your rights. For instance, if a parent withholds visitation, you can use voicemails or texts between you as evidence.

6. Stay Informed About Your Rights and Obligations

Educate yourself about your legal rights and obligations during the divorce process. Familiarize yourself with local laws regarding property division, child custody, alimony, and child support. Understanding your rights will empower you to make informed decisions and protect your interests.

7. Build a Supportive Network

Surround yourself with a strong support network of friends, family, and professionals who can provide emotional support and guidance. Seek out therapists, support groups, or divorce coaches who specialize in helping individuals navigate through challenging divorces. Their expertise and empathy can be invaluable during this stressful time.

8. Focus on Self-Care

Amidst the turmoil of a divorce, it's important not to neglect your own well-being. Prioritize self-care by engaging in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and engage in hobbies or activities that refresh and rejuvenate you.

9. Consult with a Financial Advisor

A vindictive spouse may attempt to manipulate financial matters during a divorce. To ensure fair treatment and protect your financial future, consult with a reputable financial advisor. They can help you understand the financial implications of various decisions and assist in crafting a realistic post-divorce budget.

Our Attorney Can Help You Divorce a Vindictive Spouse

At Dale L. Bernstein, Chartered Law Office, our attorney provides clients with aggressive legal representation. Should your spouse try to be vindictive, we can help you play the offensive and develop a case strategy to address their behavior and strengthen our case. Our firm handles a range of divorce case, including:

Call (727) 312-1112 to learn more about how our divorce attorney can help with your case.


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