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Tell The Truth in Divorce Court


The worst thing somebody can do in Divorce Court is to lie or be deceitful.

My wife was in the supermarket checkout line recently and overheard a conversation between the man in front of her and the cashier, who apparently knew each other.

The main in front of her was telling the cashier how he “got screwed” in his divorce action many years ago. He told the cashier how his wife got the house, the Mercedes, a $250,000 judgment against him, the kids, child support, and lifetime alimony, and how he was left with his truck and both of their legal bills. My wife, feeling sorry for the gentleman, interrupted and offered to have him speak with me to see if perhaps my office could help him somehow.

The man started laughing and said, “Your husband was the guy who did this to me!”

I remember the case. The woman had come to me advising me that her husband inherited his family business, that there were now severe marital problems, and that her husband was threatening to sell the business for far less than its market value so that my client would not receive her share of the business should my client file for divorce.

After my client filed for divorce and obtained an order prohibiting the man from selling his business, the man gave the business away to a relative in exchange for the relative taking on certain debts of the business. We spent the next three years fighting over the husband’s improper actions and how the wife’s interests should not be diminished because of the husband’s misdeeds.

The fact that the husband feels that he “got screwed” in his divorce action underscores some basic facts of human self-perception. Many people, no matter what the objective circumstances are, feel that they are always the victim of whatever happens to them in life.

It does not surprise me, therefore, that all these years later the man is still incapable of recognizing the harm that he did to himself and his family. He continues to perceive himself as the victim. He is apparently oblivious to the fact that by giving away his business he seriously harmed his family economically and that is why the judge awarded his ex-wife so much.

Being informed by your spouse that a divorce is imminent is always painful. However, as the above story illustrates, reacting to the news in a vindictive way can only serve to harm the entire family, including the person who acts out inappropriately.


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Topics: Divorce Court