Your wife had an affair and often leaves your young children unattended.

You want your attorney to make sure to share every detail in court.


Your husband had an affair and is a frequent “no-show” for school pickups, leaving your children stranded and unattended.

You want your attorney to make sure to share every detail in court.


The truth matters. As children, many of us promised our friends we’d “cross our hearts and hope to die if we told a single lie.”

In court, we swear to “tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth…” And so, we do, or risk being charged with perjury. However, using the truth as a weapon in your divorce – making sure the judge and perhaps the world knows how awful your spouse was – is oftentimes counterproductive and may ultimately cost you – financially and legally in your divorce settlement.

“I want you to know the truth!”

As angry as you are at your ex, as much as you’d like to see them bloodied and face down on the courtroom floor, as much as you want a just decision in your righteous case, the law is a dispassionate neutral, blind, and deaf to emotion.

In a recent custody trial, the judge was hearing an argument from the lawyers about a motion the father’s attorney had filed against the mother regarding an alleged transgression involving their child. Suddenly, the judge looked past the attorneys, turned to the father, and asked:

JUDGE: Mr. X, what did you hope to accomplish by filing this motion against your child’s mother?

FATHER: To find out the truth, Your Honor.

JUDGE: And do you think your child is going to benefit from the truth?

FATHER: [No answer]

JUDGE: Do you think your child will benefit from this entire litigation?

FATHER: [No answer]

If you enter into your divorce, are unable to negotiate the terms of your marital dissolution, and opt to litigate in court (I demand justice! Take that creep to court!), you may be in for a rude surprise.

You can tell the judge what a lousy parent or spouse your ex is and was. However, your divorce attorney should advise you that judges are profoundly uninterested in such matters. Rather, they want the marital assets split up equitably. They want to see that your children are taken care of. And, to the extent, support/alimony is to be paid, that it be in a correct amount.

Everything else is window dressing.

Divorce court is no place for revenge

In business, there is a saying that the best negotiation is one in which everyone walks out of the room a little disappointed. Hopefully, equally and equitably unhappy.

So it goes in divorce court. You can waste precious time, energy, and money spent on legal fees trying to devise fiendish tactics to “punish” the other spouse for their alleged faults and wrongdoings. It’s your time. It’s your energy. And it is your money.

A better strategy is to listen to your divorce attorney. Help them craft a sound legal strategy so that they can present your case in the best possible light to the judge to secure a favorable outcome.

What if I can’t stop hating my ex?

No one is asking you to get over the trauma of your marriage or your divorce. This is simply a reminder that how you feel has little place in a courtroom.

If you are contemplating divorce or in the middle of the process and having trouble coping with the “unfairness” of the things – the demands your ex is making, the things the other attorney is saying, talk to your attorney, but vent to a mental health professional. Your anger, your frustration, and your outrage will not play well in court. Nor will it read well to the judge reviewing legal papers filed in court.

When you divorce, the only relevant factor you should consider – from a legal standpoint – is whether a position you (and your attorney) take as a litigant will or will not advance your case. Everything else is secondary.

Fair v. right

The minute you decide to separate from the person you’ve married – and perhaps have had children with, you give up your power to exert your will over your spouse or your children. Fairness is a luxury not always achieved in court.

When you divorce and litigate in court, you will not get to decide what constitutes a “fair” amount of child support. You will not be able to determine what is a fair alimony or support settlement will be. Nor will you decide what a “fair” amount of custody of your children is. When you choose to use the legal system to settle your divorce, you agree to give up these rights.

What recourse do you have?

If you are feeling hostile and still want blood on the floor, speak to a therapist. If you can, negotiate a settlement out of court with your ex, with the advice of a skilled divorce attorney. And failing that, the best thing you can do is put yourself in the hands of an experienced divorce lawyer and let them do their job.

Every divorce is different. Your particular situation, your marriage, the issues you face, whether or not to litigate, etc., are all unique to you. If you have questions about how best to navigate your options, let's talk. I'm Dan Stock, and you can call me at 475-232-4105 or email me at to schedule a consultation.

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