11 Things Your Spouse Can Use Against You in Divorce Court

what can be used against you in a divorce

Going through a divorce can bring out the worst in people. When tensions run high, you or your spouse may be tempted to use damaging information as leverage.

New Jersey divorce law leaves room for factors like adultery and abuse to impact outcomes related to alimony, assets, and child custody. So, what exactly can your spouse use against you in a divorce? And how can you prepare yourself?

Here are some common areas used against spouses during messy divorces include:

Social Media Footprints

Online posts capturing questionable behavior often surface during divorces. Images from a wild night out or inflammatory comments can get taken out of context.

Turn posts private temporarily, plus screengrab any images you would hate turned against you. The high road? Taking accountability for past mistakes and reaffirming your commitment to responsible co-parenting.

Assets and Accounting

Financial transparency eases divorce struggles. Yet suspicions around hidden income or assets mount easily. Secure an independent forensic accountant to determine complete marital net worth if needed. Better yet, disclose all marital assets upfront during mediation. Fuzzy math risks muddling settlement talks.

Spending and Settling Debts

Some spouses go on retaliatory shopping sprees once the marriage seems doomed. Or they leave the partner stuck with burdensome debts. Judges can reduce settlement amounts to account for marital assets one spouse wasted.

Make fully separating finances a priority. Tally joint debts and discuss resolving credit damage, as finances impact children, too.

Venting Anger Inappropriately

Reacting rashly out of hurt or frustration is understandable. But using children as pawns, harassing an ex with calls/texts, trespassing on their property, or other aggressive acts can seriously backfire in court.

Seeking counseling outlets can help you process anger in healthy ways as you transition to solo living. Leaning on friends and family also lends perspective when you lose sight of the big picture.

Stonewalling and Delay Tactics

When one spouse disengages from the divorce process via disappearing acts, evading legal papers, or dodging meetings, judges take it seriously. Court orders can compel participation.

Prevent foot-dragging by being the adult and staying focused on delaying legal proceedings. Explore tools like scheduling apps to coordinate parenting duties amicably.

New Relationships

Dating before divorce raises concerns about putting children first amidst family changes. Simply waiting until separated legally helps avoid complications. Your children’s wellbeing should stay the priority.

Incriminating Evidence

During combative divorces, one spouse may dig up old messages to cast blame. But occasional faults rarely undermine one’s parenting history.

If specific incidents do get brought up, take accountability, as no one is perfect. Reiterate your commitment to responsible co-parenting regardless. Respecting boundaries with your ex can build trust.

Settlement Sabotage

If your ex rejects reasonable settlement offers but makes extreme demands, don’t immediately cave in. Speak to a lawyer privately to evaluate options, as unreasonable demands usually fail in court.

When good-faith talks stall, a qualified attorney can help overcome barriers. Maintaining integrity from the start prevents most negotiation standstills.


There’s never a good excuse for lying under oath or intentionally concealing meaningful amounts of marital assets. Such deceit often surfaces eventually, exposing the liar to contempt of court charges and ethics violations if the state is licensed or if settlement agreements are revoked.

Come clean about finances early in proceedings – dishonesty prolongs negotiations, erodes credibility, and broadcasting wealth could influence child support totals unfavorably anyway.

Restricting Child Access

Unless presenting verifiable safety concerns like abuse, addiction, or violence, one parent denying the other’s legal parenting time flouts standing custody orders. But document all denied visits. If reasoned discussion fails, court intervention may enforce compliance.

Compassion helps here – your former spouse still plays a valuable role in your children’s lives. Ease transitions until improved trust takes hold.

Skipping Town as Intimidation

Make no mistake: threatening to flee the state or country with your children in tow qualifies as kidnapping. Even if bluffed as manipulation, such warnings terrorize kids already weathering family turmoil. Police assistance would be warranted.

Reaffirm your shared commitment to raising wonderful kids – then align on where you’ll each reside locally to facilitate flexible parenting time schedules.

Don’t Fight Fire With Fire When Divorce Gets Ugly

Initiating divorce is emotionally charged under the best of circumstances. Contested divorces quickly spiral into courtroom dramas with legal battles, exaggerations, and more ugliness. There’s a better path – uncontested divorce powered by mediation.

Mediation sessions create a balanced, compassionate setting for couples to hash out agreements collaboratively with experienced professionals. Discussion remains focused on practical matters like child custody schedules and financial separation rather than rehashing the painful end of love.

Granted, divorcing amicably requires maturity when emotions run high post-breakup. Exchanging insults and criticism with your former spouse often backfires by fueling tensions and conflict further. Cooperation serves your long-term best interests.

Keeping a level head is key to safeguarding your best interests and your family’s future. Before you react, take a beat and remember these essential tips:

  1. Carefully review all proposed divorce agreements before signing anything. Don’t overlook crucial details that could impact your family’s future.
  2. Consult experienced divorce professionals to help negotiate fair compromises rather than settling matters hastily alone.
  3. Stay focused on what truly matters most – your children’s welfare and your own financial security. Don’t get distracted by petty disputes.
  4. Resist the temptation to trade insults or criticism with your almost-ex, as this usually escalates tensions further.
  5. Prioritize maintaining calm and stability for any children involved in the split. This measured mindset serves everyone’s best interests.

The attorneys here at Netsquire have guided thousands through calm, empowering, mediated divorces. Contact us today for a case assessment and leave the ugliness behind for good.

About the Author


John Nachlinger is a co-founder and managing attorney of Netsquire, a family law firm focused on streamlining divorces through effective mediation, settlement drafting, and court filing assistance. As a New Jersey Supreme Court Certified Matrimonial Law Attorney and Qualified Mediator, John guides couples toward equitable agreements without the cost and stress of litigation.

Recognized as a New Jersey Super Lawyer for over a decade, John’s client-focused approach aims to foster understanding during challenging transitions. With a background spanning top law journals, judicial clerkships, and boutique family law firms, John now applies his analytical skills to create workable solutions for all parties. His mediation services reshape the divorce journey by prioritizing compassion and compromise.

LinkedIn | State Bar Association | Avvo | Google