Divorces are typically a time of heightened emotion and stress. Almost always, there is some amount of surprise for the spouse who receives a divorce petition, but for some spouses, that surprise turns to anger. So what do you do if your spouse gets angry after receiving your petition for divorce?
How Normal Is This?
Although there are some situations where spouses are in full agreement leading up to a divorce, most spouses do not react well to being served divorce papers. A thorough divorce petition, especially one drafted by a divorce lawyer, will include a number of claims and ask the court to award everything that you are entitled to receive. This can be overwhelming, surprising, and sometimes angering for your spouse. However, it needs to be this thorough in order to prepare for your best possible case.
What Will Your Spouse Want?
A spouse who has become angered by divorce papers will often make several requests of you. These might include dismissing your divorce petition, coming to a settlement or “agreement,” or going through mediation without the assistance of a divorce lawyer. However, it is important that you do not back down. Even if you are interested in settlement, you should be sure that any negotiations take place with the help of your divorce lawyer.
Don’t Retract Your Divorce Filing
The only way your case will ever get to a judge is if there is a divorce filing in the system. If your ultimate goal is to get a divorce, retracting or dismissing your petition will only delay or prevent you from getting a divorce.
How Well Do You Communicate, Really?
It is likely, if you are divorcing your spouse, that the two of you do not communicate very well. Settlement agreements need to be very thorough and should include several disclosures about your finances and assets. Otherwise, you may come to regret reaching this agreement. Remember, even as your spouse tries to pressure you into a settlement on your own, you can always reach a settlement with the help of an attorney who will work to protect your rights.
Mediation is Mandatory
Your spouse may try to encourage you to enter mediation as an “alternative” to divorce proceedings. However, mediation is a step in all Florida Divorces, as well as Florida Paternity actions. Your spouse might also suggest that you go through mediation without the assistance of an attorney. However, your divorce attorney can keep you informed of your rights and the consequences of any agreement that you might make.
How to React
Along with these requests, your spouse may express their anger in other ways, like calling you names, calling your lawyer names, or making legal threats. The best thing you can do is to ignore this behavior. Keep a record of how they react; save the angry text messages and respond politely, if you respond at all. This can all be potential evidence in court.
However, you should also remember that their reaction is not necessarily a reflection on who they are as a person or a parent. Your spouse has experienced one of the worst days of their life. Hopefully, a week or so after receiving divorce papers, they will calm down, and whatever minimal interactions you must have during your case can be as polite and calm as possible, given the situation.