How to have the most horrible divorce ever
If you and your spouse have decided to divorce and you want to look back on your divorce process with as much anger and bitterness as possible, then this recipe for a horrible divorce is definitely for you.
Ingredient 1 – Hire a bulldog lawyer who will:
tell you he or she will get everything that you want;
tell you that you have a winning case;
tell you that your spouse’s attorney is an idiot;
tell you he or she will destroy your ex.
This will ensure that you waste thousands of rands in legal costs by approaching the court with interim applications in terms of Rule 43 or 58, by lodging applications for contempt of court or to compel your spouse and by asking the judge to make interim decisions about maintenance and care and contact of your children. In addition you can lodge Domestic Violence applications for protection orders, accuse your spouse of sexual abuse, use your children as pawns and completely alienate your spouse from the children. As a last measure you may want to report your spouse to the Revenue Services. This will ensure that you and your ex remain enemies for the rest of your lives and will need attorneys to do most of the communicating between the two of you. In the process your children will likely suffer the most, the more conflict the better for everyone.
Ingredient 2 – Be as adversarial and confrontational as possible.
Don’t even think about settlement or mediation or collaborative divorce, if you do enter into settlement negotiations use it as a delaying tactic with no intention to settle. Consider this terrifying scenario: You and your spouse being guided by professionals who are committed to helping you communicate effectively to resolve serious issues. Why would you want that? What will you have to add to the conversation when your friends complain and gossip about how badly their divorces are going?
Ingredient 3 – Fight for your principles and ideologies.
Principles are the best way to make sure you spend ridiculous amounts of money on expert and attorney fees. Principles are also a great way to prevent long-term compromise that will make sense a few years down the road.
Ingredient 4 – Insist on having “your” day in court.
By having your day in court you can tell your own story to the judge. You want that judge to hear everything that your spouse did wrong, and rightfully so whether it is relevant or not. You will have a few years to perfect your argument and gather more evidence, in addition to the opportunity to spend hundreds of thousands of rands on legal and expert fees while you wait for that special day. By prolonging the adversity your attorney can enjoy a few relaxing holidays on a tropical island while you prepare for the big fight.
Ingredient 5 – Take out a loan to pay your legal costs.
A divorce like this can easily cost you more than R 300 000. Do not even think of spending this kind of money on your children. It is much better to spend it in your own little war; after all you probably hate your spouse so much that you would rather pay your attorney to fight to the finish. But think about it, hiring a hit man may be cheaper.
Ingredient 6– Hire a psychologist to try and mend all the emotional damage.
By this time you will be so emotionally drained, exhausted and psychologically messed up that you will need help. It may be best at this stage to trade in what is left of your estate and pay for the services of a good psychologist who you will likely need for the rest of your life.
For those of you who want to ensure that you are fighting with your estranged spouse for years to come, I hope this post has been helpful.
Finally, take my advice. If you do divorce, think of your children and for heaven’s sake try to part ways as amicably as possible. High levels of parental conflict during and after divorce are associated with poorer adjustment in children. Conflict costs money. Clearly, it also costs the children of divorce.
Compiled by Bertus Preller
Family Law and Divorce Attorney and author of Everyone’s Guide to Divorce and Separation – Random House.