Once a split is imminent, emotions tend to run high on both sides. Sometimes this can manifest in bullying behaviors that never surfaced during the marriage.
The divorce-bullying may be subtle, but it takes its toll. Be wary of incidents such as:
— Attempts at isolating you from your support systems
— Using custody of the children to threaten you or make you comply
— Lying about events to make you appear in a negative light
— Retaining an attorney to intimidate you
Your first concern should be ensuring that you and your children are safe. If you suspect your ex-spouse could erupt in physical violence, request that your divorce attorney seek protective orders if necessary.
Even if you know that your spouse’s bullying will not escalate to physical threats, you need to establish clear boundaries with him or her. Because people will treat you as good or badly as you permit them to, you must make it crystal clear that you will not tolerate being bullied. Put it in writing if necessary, such as when an ex insists on dropping over unannounced. Send it certified mail to them, and CC your attorney and theirs as well.
Document all occurrences of bullying by your former spouse. Note dates, times, witnesses and specific details. Include security camera footage if applicable.
Never get bullied into signing agreements just to end the matter or to appease an ex-spouse. Insist on running all documents and proposals past your family law attorney before you sign anything. You can bet there’s a reason they are in a big hurry to settle loose ends, and it’s likely to cost you.
Source: Huffington Post, “Coping With a Divorce Bully,” Divorce Magazine, Dec. 02, 2015