Difficult Divorces: Dealing with a Vindictive Spouse

Colorado Is a No-Fault State

In Colorado, you do not need to provide fault when filing for divorce. Instead, you and your ex can file for divorce on the grounds that your marriage is irretrievably broken. Additionally, in Colorado, there are two types of divorce: uncontested and contested. An uncontested divorce is when the couple can agree on all divorce terms.

However, if you are dealing with a vindictive spouse, you are more likely to have a contested divorce. In a contested divorce, the parties cannot agree on one or all of their divorce terms. Additionally, one person may contest the divorce itself. High-conflict divorces tend to take longer to resolve because they tend to have greater disputes that require litigation.

The Hallmarks of a High-Conflict Divorce

Coming to divorce terms with an ex is rarely easy. When you are in a high-conflict situation, it can be even harder. Issues like property division, spousal maintenance, and child custody are highly emotional and sometimes bring out the worst in people. In high-conflict situations, people can adopt a win/lose mentality and resort to lashing out when they don’t get their way. If you are dealing with a vindictive spouse, you need the support of a strong lawyer.

Signs you are dealing with a vindictive spouse include:

  • They hold a grudge
  • They are intentionally uncooperative
  • They are manipulative or use intimidation tactics
  • They make threats
  • They play games or destroy property out of anger
  • They use your kids as pawns

Often, vindictive people cannot look at the larger picture and are only focused on what is happening in the moment, and how they feel about it. This makes negotiating with them extremely difficult, if not impossible.

Three Tips for Dealing with a Vindictive Spouse

Many people feel alone when dealing with a vindictive ex. It is not uncommon for the vindictive party to badmouth their ex to anyone who will listen, and they often seek to get people on their “side.” This can make you feel isolated, and like you don’t have the support you need. You don’t have to deal with this on your own.

Tip #1: Seek Reliable Legal Representation

The first thing you should do when dealing with a vindictive ex is to secure legal representation as soon as possible. Having an attorney on your side can help you feel supported throughout the divorce process and give you somewhere to turn when disputes and other problems arise. It is not unheard of for a vindictive person to harass their ex or damage property out of anger. Depending on your circumstances, a knowledgeable lawyer may be able to help you put a stop to this behavior and hold your ex accountable for their actions.

At the Law Office of Greg Quimby, P.C., we are known for our compassionate representation. If you are dealing with a difficult divorce, turn to our dedicated lawyers for help.

Tip #2: Try to Keep Your Children Out of It

While your children will unavoidably be affected by your divorce, you can work to protect them throughout the process. Avoid conflict in front of them as much as possible. When they ask questions, try to remain as neutral and calm as possible. Do your best not to badmouth their other parent to them or other people in front of them. This is especially important in situations where you will have shared custody. Seeing their parents fighting with each other can cause significant stress on the children, and they may feel as if they have to pick sides.

You may also wish to seek out a therapist or family counselor for your children. Divorce can be traumatic, no matter how old or mature your children are. Your children may also need additional help to deal with the collateral damage that a vindictive parent can inflict on them. Having a neutral third party help them through the process can be incredibly beneficial.

Tip #3: Take Care of Your Mental Health

Don’t forget that your mental health matters. The divorce process can be long, and when dealing with a vindictive partner, you have even more on your plate. This heavy burden can take a toll on your psyche. While your primary concern is caring for your family, you, too, deserve support and care. Do not be ashamed to seek out a therapist or counselor if you feel it could help you.

For more from our Difficult Divorces series, read our blogs on divorcing while in the military and divorcing a narcissist.

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