Archive for the ‘Divorce as Domestic Violence’ Category


Saturday, April 21st, 2012

Back when my husband first locked me out of the house, I had about fifteen hundred bucks to my name (with a monthly rent payment of eight twenty-five coming due) and no recent work experience. At that time, he filed with the court, saying that, because he viewed it as possible for me to re-start my education and career, he should not be ordered to pay me any maintenance (the current term for “alimony”).

In my efforts to reach a settlement, I offered not to seek any spousal support, despite the fact that he has the house and nearly all the money, and was earning three to four times what I was at the time.

He’s now claiming that he’s probably going to be laid off in a few weeks, so I should be ordered to pay him maintenance (in addition to not paying child support any more). He claims that I can always go out and get a second job in order to support his household in addition to mine. He has no plans to look for work.

He also plans to re-file his demand that I be psychologically evaluated and then committed, because I’m mentally incompetent and so cripplingly shy that I can’t work.

His naked greed is breathtaking.

“Dependent child” and taxes

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

I just got my 2011 taxes done. Once I’ve sent in my payments, I will have paid thirty-two percent of my Adjusted Gross Income in state and federal taxes. That’s on top of the forty-three percent I paid last year in divorce-related expenses.

My husband wants any divorce settlement to award him the dependent-child benefit on his taxes. I’ve been taking this exemption since he locked us out of the house, because our child has been living with me. My husband says that “the only remedy” would be to award him the exemption for the upcoming years.

But he already makes more money than I do, receives loads of work benefits that I’ll never have, and pays only about fifteen percent of his income in taxes. How would it be “fair” to make the inequality even greater?

Unfortunately, the overriding ethic in family court seems to be “splitting things down the middle”, but in favor of the man. So my husband may actually receive this award.

Of course, that will only happen if my husband allows the divorce to be finalized. At the rate he’s going, the issue won’t be up for a decision until after our child turns eighteen. Which would be almost funny.

Does the truth never matter in divorce?

Wednesday, March 7th, 2012

Today was another “fun” session at court. Opposing counsel was allowed to lie and attack and insinuate, in the face of all the facts, and there was nothing I could do. The judge is again considering serious sanctions and penalties against me on the basis of innuendo and unsupported supposition, on the basis of undocumented “evidence” which won’t be ruled admissible (or otherwise) for months, if ever.

This is, I suppose, what I get for “being nice” all those years. If I’d been insistent on fighting back, on defending myself against false charges, and on pointing out actual infractions, maybe the judge would be willing to at least consider my side’s evidence and arguments.

I am so tired of this. People have been telling me for three years now that “it’ll get better” and “some day, this will all seem so silly”. How many more years will I have to wait?

“High conflict” divorce, or continued abuse?

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

It’s just over three years now since I accidentally found out that my husband was planning to serve me with divorce papers in less than two weeks. On 15 December 2008, I stumbled onto evidence of my husband’s conversation with others, talking about how “we” were waiting until after the holidays, but that “we” would be separated by 2009.

Once a divorce case passes the two-year mark, it is officially a “high conflict” divorce. The term’s implications are fully supported by the family-court system: Both parties are deemed equally guilty of being combative. The fact of the extremely high overlap between “high conflict” cases and cases involving domestic abuse is generally swept under the rug as being irrelevant or unrelated.

Indeed, I’ve read of a case in which, during the same court appearance in front of the same judge, a woman was granted a restraining order (due to her husband’s abuse of her and her children) and was then loudly condemned by the judge for “alienating the affections” of the children for their abuser (by having gotten a restraining order so as to protect the children).

Somehow, as soon as the abuse victim is involved in a divorce case, the power-unequal abusive relationship is converted into a power-equal conflictual relationship. It doesn’t matter that nothing the victim does (other than dying) will ever be good enough for the abuser. The fact that the abuser won’t accept anything less than a continuation of his control means that he will drag things out as long as he can. And his victim is blamed.

She is told that she needs to “start negotiating in good faith”, as though her abuser were trustworthy and honorable. She is told that she needs to “be willing to compromise” with somebody who is making impossible demands. The ideal of “splitting things down the middle” leaves her in the position of trying to protect herself (and being condemned) or else “compromising” by relinquishing her rights. The philosophical basis is the mediation model, but even proponents of mediation flatly state that it won’t work in a power-unequal environment.

The “meeting in the middle” model is a nice idea. Unfortunately, it fails in practice because it assumes a parity which does not exist.