As divorce attorneys, we do our best to communicate to our clients that working towards compromise, and trying to find workable solutions, is more effective and beneficial than constant conflict. There are, however, people who have personalities which thrive on conflict. If both partners share the desire to fight for the sake of feeling like they emerged a winner, it can be almost impossible to find a middle ground for negotiating a peaceful resolution.
While we prefer to focus on positive outcomes, there are times when the “dark side” comes out in a person. We have worked with clients whose spouses seem to become someone else entirely during the divorce process, and we know how shocking it can be when you discover he or she committed acts that seem outside the realm of possibility. We have also helped people who have lived with an abusive, destructive spouse, and who are looking to start their lives over again.
Some of the more common sources for high-conflict divorce involve:
- Financial misconduct. Arguments about money have been attributed to the leading cause of divorce, but squabbles about family finances is different from discovering that your spouse has hidden bank accounts, and owns property that you did not know about. In a Tennessee divorce, full financial disclosure is required. If later in the divorce process you discover that your spouse has been hiding assets, he or she can be held in contempt and face other penalties.
- You may have an inkling that your spouse has been unfaithful – but then you discover the full extent of the double life he or she was leading, or just how many people he or she was cheating with. Discovering your spouse’s infidelity is often devastating, and it can be helpful to work with a counselor to help you process the emotions that can emerge.
- Domestic violence. Physical, psychological, or sexual abuse might be the reason for the divorce, or one party might become abusive during the divorce. Your Nashville family law attorney can facilitate you getting an order of protection to keep the abusive spouse away from you and your children.
- False charges of abuse. Sometimes, to gain advantage in the divorce or child custody battle, one spouse will allege that the other has been abusing him or her, or their children, and request an order of protection. Under Tennessee law, it is considered a Class E felony to falsely report child abuse. TN Code § 37-1-413 (2016) If you are falsely accused of domestic violence, your Nashville family law attorney can protect your rights and fight for the restoration of your reputation.
- Parental alienation. Parental alienation occurs when one parent coerces the child to alienate the other parent. While it is not technically a crime in Tennessee, the parent who is engaging in such adversarial behavior is not likely to make a good impression on the judge who will be considering many factors in deciding child custody. Tennessee’s “Parental Bill of Rights” outlines both parents’ rights and obligations to full information about the child, in addition to prohibiting “alienating” behavior, such as making derogatory remarks about the other parent to or in front of the children.
Dealing with divorce is never easy. Having the support of a legal advocate on your side can make the process more bearable when you are facing some of the darker issues that can emerge.
You have heard all the horror stories about how divorce tends to bring out the worst in people, and now you are beginning to see for yourself how true it is. Divorce can be mean, adversarial and lonely. If you are thinking about divorce or have questions about the divorce process in Tennessee, we invite you to schedule a consultation with an experienced Nashville divorce attorney from the Nashville family law firm of Miller Upshaw Family Law, PLLC. We will listen to you and offer smart legal advice specific to your case. We invite you to call 615.454.9899 or use our contact form to reserve a consultation with our skilled family law team today.