Divorcing a Controlling Spouse

It’s probably fair to assume that many of you reading this blog believe that you have a spouse that is controlling or at least more controlling than most spouses. Their need to constantly dictate your actions and those of your children can be a major factor in why you are considering a divorce. Ideally, we want our marriage to be one that allows us to have the comfort and love of an equal partner who supports our independent judgment and thoughts.

The set of circumstances that you encounter in divorcing a spouse with control issues can be unique from other people’s divorces. I have had countless people walk into a consultation with me at the Law Office of Bryan Fagan sit down and tell me that their spouse is the most inflexible, critical and difficult to deal with person on planet Earth. There’s their way or the highway, I’ve been told time and time again. What’s worse, he or she will use a situation that is not going the way he or she wants and turn it against you or your children as means to manipulate and get what he or she wants somehow, some way.

With these considerations in mind actively planning for your divorce and setting goals for yourself can be absolutely essential when it comes to managing a divorce from a controlling spouse. Simply knowing that you want to get a divorce is not enough if negotiations during the divorce itself are going to be more onerous and tiresome than in many divorces. While the odds are high that your case will settle at some stage rather than proceed to a trial, the course your divorce takes is often times dependent upon how much and how well you plan.

Chart a course for your divorce with an attorney

If you do not attempt to plan a course for your divorce to take, your spouse will surely do so for you. Controlling people not only want to control their own life but want to control yours as well. Divorce is all about change. Change in your relationship status, change for your children, change in where you live, and possibly even change in how you view yourself. How do you want to come out at the end of your divorce? Asking yourself this question can help you to problem solve and create goals that allow you to be stable, content and still productive at the conclusion of your divorce.

First and foremost, speak to an attorney who practices in family law and has experience not only in successfully handling divorce cases for clients but also has an opinion or “plan of attack” when it comes to opposing parties who are extremely controlling. Having an advocate by your side who can assist you in managing big picture goals of your divorce while helping you to maintain your day to day sanity is priceless while a divorce is ongoing. There is no full proof method to preserving your sanity during a divorce but having someone available who can help you adjust your plan based on the present circumstances is very important.

Goal planning means more than just wishing something to be true

Whether we are talking about New Year’s Resolutions or goals in your divorce, writing down what you seek to accomplish is a prerequisite to actually seeing those goals come to fruition. If you tell a friend that your goal for the year is to lose weight, I can tell you that your odds are accomplishing that goal are not that high. The reason for my pessimism if because the goal is not concrete and not written down. If you give yourself some benchmarks to reach as far as weight milestones that you are more likely to accomplish your goal. By the same token, if you write down those milestones and tape it to your bathroom mirror you will see the goal every day staring you in the face.

The goals of your divorce should be no different. If you want to make sure that you have a plan to counter those of your controlling spouse make sure to meet personally with your attorney before your Original Petition for Divorce is filed. Go over with your attorney what you specifically want to accomplish in your divorce. Some requests need to be “pled” for in your Petition in order to possibly request that sort of relief in a trial. Your attorney will make that call after consulting with you so that any goals you may have can be accounted for.

Prepare for your case before your spouse can prepare for theirs

A controlling spouse may want to get a jump on you as much as possible after you have filed for divorce. If you are able to, begin to collect any documents or other written evidence that may be important to your case. A lot of the middle stages of your case involve negotiation and discussion with the opposing party about settlement offers made to end your divorce case. In some instances controlling spouses limit their spouses’ ability to access important financial paperwork and other documents. Do yourself a favor and ask your attorney what he or she will need to work on your case down the line and collect those documents sooner rather than later.

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail when divorcing a controlling spouse

The bottom line is that there is no substitute in a divorce for preparation and proactive thinking. You can have the most noble of goals for your divorce but unless you set them out in writing and act on them in a reasonable fashion your goals are worth no more than the paper they are written on. Consider that your controlling spouse has goals in mind that are contrary to yours in some cases and your need to exhibit proactive behavior becomes even more important.

Please contact the Law Office of Bryan Fagan today for a free of charge consultation to discuss this subject and any other in family law. A consultation is always free of charge with one of our licensed family law attorneys and are available six days a week.

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