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Nasty divorces are called many names such as acrimonious divorces, toxic divorces and hostile divorces.
A divorce is in general, a challenging and disappointing experience for most people. However, for many people going through a divorce, they have waited so long to make the decision to start divorce proceedings that they are relieved that the process has finally begun because they can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Many of our clients thought about getting a divorce for three years or more before they eventually consult with a Divorce Lawyer – and they often still wait another year or two before they proceed with the divorce.
Nasty divorces can encompass many aspects, from financial abuse to harassment, emotional and psychological abuse and finally physical abuse. Some of our Clients have said that emotional abuse outlasts the physical abuse.
However, you can fight back by taking legal action against your spouse to stop the abuse from taking place. The longer you leave it, the more difficult it becomes to control the situation. The Domestic Violence Court was created for this purpose, to stop abuse taking place.
Many people are terrified to go on trial, and this causes them not to go ahead with the divorce process even if they are extremely unhappy in their marriage.
They avoid starting with the divorce process for this specific reason.
With divorces, there are often many interlocutory applications such as Domestic Violence Applications and Rule 43 Applications, but the interesting thing about divorces is that only about 5 percent of all divorces end up going to trial – if the percentage is even that high.
Dealing with the divorce process starts by you accepting that your spouse may be a narcissist or that they will from time to time or on an ongoing basis be offensive and aggressive towards you.
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Narcissists always want power, and they will do anything to keep the power. This often means that they will do whatever they can to keep you off balance. If a Court makes an order, they will skirt around the limits of the law to show you that the Court Order means nothing. (You have recourse in cases like this as you can bring a Contempt of Court case against your spouse).
They will often ask for the primary residence of the minor children, even if they have never given any real attention to the children. They are merely trying to wear you down. Do not give up, you are not alone.
Do not let this behaviour by your spouse change you or turn you into a person that you are not. Be yourself.
Get a support structure in place, be it a friend or family member alternatively or additionally, an expert such as a Social Worker or Psychologist. As Divorce Attorneys, we often see that the people that obtain expert counselling can cope much better and can give us as Attorneys better instructions – emotions that are not emotionally based.
Acceptance goes a long way in dealing with a nasty divorce. If your spouse is trying to wear you down and you must wait for things to happen such as Court dates that are very far away, accept the process, as this is the one thing that can make a significant difference assisting you in coping with the nastiness of the divorce.
From a legal perspective, be prepared and assist your Divorce Lawyer by gathering the information required for the Court Process in an organised and timeous manner. Not only will you feel better prepared to go through the divorce process, but you will be better prepared, and you will likely save legal fees by being adequately prepared.