The stress, anxiety, uncertainty, and emotional upheaval that come with the divorce process can bring out the worst in otherwise good people. Divorce attorneys are well accustomed to hearing clients say: “I want my ex to pay!!!” Usually such comments are innocuous and made as exaggerated expressions of hurt or anger. However, there are some who attempt to abuse or manipulate the legal process for unfair advantage or revenge toward their spouse. In a family law context, such abuse or manipulation typically occurs when one party makes false allegations of child abuse, domestic violence, or other criminal conduct against the other party.
Hurt and anger are normal emotions to experience during the divorce. However, dwelling on vengeance and retribution is emotionally unhealthy and can lead to ingrained bitterness and resentment. If you view the legal system as a means to extract revenge on your spouse, you will almost surely be disappointed. Chances are high that you will spend far more on legal fees than would otherwise be necessary and, regardless of the outcome, you still will be dissatisfied.
Focusing your time and energy on plotting revenge is not likely to get you anywhere good. Perhaps most importantly, any vengeful or illegal acts on your part may negatively impact your divorce related matters, especially if such acts come to the attention of the judge hearing your case. Judges are adept at detecting deception, and they have remedies at their disposal to punish individuals who deliberately lie, make false allegations, or attempt to abuse the legal process. The most likely consequence is that the judge will render a decision that is adverse or less favorable to the deceptive party. However, judges have other remedies available such as fines, sanctions, dismissing a party’s claims, and even bringing criminal charges. Additionally, there are certain legal remedies available to someone who has been falsely accused of a crime or had false allegations made against them, and you could easily find yourself being sued for any damages or harm that occurs as the result of your actions.
This article is for information purposes only and is not to be considered or substituted as legal advice. The information in this article is based on North Carolina state laws in effect at the time of posting.