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Family & Divorce Law

How to identify bullying behavior during divorce

By Tolison & Williams / December 9, 2015

A relatively new term has entered the lexicon of divorce: the "divorce bully." A divorce bully is defined as a spouse who has never been a bully in any other context with his or her spouse, but who takes on that role during the course of a divorce. Dealing with a divorce bully can be stressful, and Colorado spouses who are faced with that scenario often are unsure how to react.

One of the easiest ways to identify a divorce bully is to look for the presence of threats. When one spouse begins to threaten another over actions within the divorce, bullying is usually a factor. A common example is when one spouse warns the other that he or she is going to "take away" the kids in the divorce. Some spouses will threaten to leave the other in financial ruin.

When bullying takes place, spouses should first ensure that they and their children are safe from any type of physically abusive behavior. Not all divorce bullies are violent people, but any time there is a risk of harm, protective measures should be taken. Next, it can be helpful to document evidence of bullying. This can be especially powerful if the matter escalates, or if the behavior needs to be discussed in the context of child custody.

When an individual feels threatened, the response can be to act out in a way that resembles bullying. For some couples going through a divorce, simply pointing out that certain behaviors are overly aggressive will be enough to make one spouse see the error of his or her ways. For others in Colorado, more involved reactions may be necessary, up to and including asking the court to intervene.

Tags: Divorce

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