The Divorce Threat List

Question My husband and I are divorcing, and he says that unless I agree to split the property the way he wants, he’ll take me to court and the judge will order us to sell everything. Can he do that?

AnswerSure, he can take you to court, but it is unlikely that the judge would order the sale of an asset unless there is a good economic reason and the sale is in the best interest of both parties.

For example, if you want to keep the house and there are sufficient other assets that could be awarded to your husband to make the settlement fair, it is unlikely the judge would order the house to be sold.

Here is a list of divorce threats, courtesy of Margorie Engel and Diana Gould from their book “Divorce Decisions Workbook.”

“Unless you play this my way, you’ll never get a dime.”

The threatener is used to being in charge, and doesn’t want to give up his power. But coercion won’t work. The property will be divided evenly, and support will be awarded in accordance with the schedules.

“I’ll go to jail before I’ll pay you a dime of support.”

If your spouse is employed, support will be enforced through wage assignment, and your check will come directly from his employer. If he has no employer and falls behind in support payments, there is a panoply of enforcement methods. Ultimately, contempt of court can mean a jail term, but most people pay voluntarily before going to jail.

“I’ll quit my job before I’ll pay you that kind of money.”

Get a witness if you can. If you can show he quit his job to avoid support obligations, the support will probably continue at the same level.

“I will reconcile with you only if you put everything in my name.”

If you are going to reconcile, why do you need an agreement that is lop-sidedly in favor of the party making such a demand? Be extremely suspicious of such statements.

Threats are very common. Just ignore them and continue to attempt to reach a reasonable resolution.


  1. My ex has told my son he can come live with him in sept. when he turns 14.we are not yet divorced and have no custody arrangement but he lives and goes to school with ex hasnt paid any support in months and only contacts our son every few weeks when its convienent for son thinks if he goes to live with his dad he won’t have any chores and will just be able to party all the is not a good enviornment for him at his dads at all.he drinks all the time and is not stable.but is it true that when my son turns 14, he can go live there and I can’t do anything to stop it?

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