Getting divorced does not have to be an adversarial process. Many couples are committed to keeping things civil and may even remain friends after everything is said and done. Unfortunately, this is not the case for people who are dealing with a passive-aggressive spouse. These individuals appear cooperative and agreeable on the outside, yet behind the scenes they are making everything more difficult.
If this description fits your spouse, they might readily agree to an amicable divorce when you broach the topic, but then use sneaky tactics to aggravate you and complicate the proceedings every step of the way. Your spouse may fabricate perfectly reasonable explanations as to why they have not signed an agreement or produced certain paperwork, but these are merely delay tactics. It may be necessary to take different actions than you would in a normal situation.
Specific things to watch for
Getting divorced involves negotiation and compromise, particularly when dividing shared finances and working out agreements pertaining to custody of minor children and spousal support. Arriving at mutually satisfying agreements takes time and effort on the part of both parties. While you’re negotiating in good faith, your spouse may be displaying passive-aggressive behavior, which can be misleading and hard to identify.
Communication confusion is a common passive-aggressive tactic you may encounter. For example, you and your spouse have worked together to negotiate a spousal support agreement that seems to satisfy both parties. But while waiting for your spouse to sign the final paperwork, you receive an angry letter from their attorney, insinuating that you made unacceptable demands. When confronted, your spouse offers excuses, perhaps blaming the attorney.
Another typical passive-aggressive tactic involves delaying the sale of your shared home. Your spouse may easily agree to put it on the market, then concocts one excuse after another preventing the realtor from showing the home to potential buyers.
The biggest mistake seen by the attorney’s at Buncher Family Law is simply buying into one’s spouses delay tactics and not taking appropriate action to move the case forward. While it costs money to keep a case moving toward a resolution, it is sometimes a fraction of the time and cost wasted in these situations by doing nothing.
The best solution is to hire an attorney that will work with you to continue to set deadlines for your spouse and their attorney. These deadlines will cost your spouse time and money thus they will have more motivation to cooperate. By doing nothing you’ve played right into your passive aggressive spouse’s hand.
If you suspect your spouse is guilty of passive-aggressive behavior, your first order of business should be hiring an attorney, one that has experience dealing with difficult personalities. Many family judges presiding over Orange County divorce court are also familiar with the antics spouses may be pulling and, do not like having their time wasted.