As you think about your future, your kids and your decision to file for divorce, you may feel a bit anxious and stressed. It's understandable. After all, you'll have to negotiate many issues with your soon-to-be ex. It can be awkward, at first, to discuss such topics, especially if you've been married a long time. Your children, as well, may encounter challenges as they adjust to their parents living in separate households. It's also understandable that you want to keep the peace, if possible.
You don't want to seek revenge for all the hurt your spouse caused you in your marriage. You also don't want to spend every penny you have, locking horns with your spouse in court. If your spouse is quite angry that you're filing for divorce and has sworn to make things tough on you, you'll want to be prepared for aggressive litigation, if necessary. Knowing when and how to aggressively litigate divorce may be key factors toward obtaining a positive outcome.
When you know you're in for a fight
In a perfect world, spouses would cooperate and compromise to devise agreeable plans, then get their plans approved by the court and go their separate ways with no hard feelings. However, it's not a perfect world, and divorce can get messy. If the issues contained in the following list arise, it's a sign that aggressive litigation strategies may be needed:
- Child custody: Has your spouse made comments about making sure you do not get custody of your children? If your spouse has made statements about taking your kids to another state or out of the country without your permission, it's definitely a sign that trouble may lie ahead and that you should access all legal resources available to thwart such schemes.
- Child support: Similarly, if your spouse has threatened that he or she will not pay a single penny in child support, it's imperative to seek the court's intervention to make sure a judge issues a court order that defines the child support terms in your case.
- Hidden assets: California operates under community property division rules in divorce. If you think your spouse is stashing cash or otherwise hiding assets to keep you from getting all that you're entitled to, you can take immediate steps to rectify the situation, because hiding assets in divorce is illegal.
- Refusal to negotiate: Perhaps you had hoped to mediate your divorce or enter the collaborative law process as an alternative to litigation for dispute resolution. If your spouse refuses to amicably negotiate the terms of your divorce, it's a sign that you should be ready to aggressively litigate your case.
Litigation may take longer and cost a bit more than mediation or arbitration. However, you have a right to protect your assets and your children's best interests. Sometimes, litigation is the best means for doing so, especially if you're dealing with a spouse who refuses to cooperate or compromise. You don't have to go it alone in court. In fact, most California spouses who are fighting for custody or trying to overcome hidden asset schemes turn to experienced family law attorneys to help fight their battles.