*The following is a repost from 12/31/11
Anyone who has been in a high conflict divorce knows how crazy it can get. For whatever reason, one of the parties has lost control of their anger and emotions and starts making outrageous accusations. You laugh it off because you know how absolutely crazy it is and that your ex has no evidence of what they are accusing you of, but your ex persists with a vengeance. To make matters worse, the court seems to be paying attention. They actually seem to believe the lie.
What can you do? The worst thing to do is get defensive. If there is nothing to defend, then don’t waste your energy. If your attorney has to respond to an accusation filed in court pleadings, a good attorney will give it little attention and focus on the real issues and what you can prove about past events to plead your case. You don’t have to defend yourself, unless the issue makes you sound like an unfit parent in a custody case. The goal in your pleadings is to tell why you should get custody and your ex should not. Stick to that. Should the other side choose to make this accusation in their pleadings then you should respond briefly, but again, get back to the positives for you. It’s your ex’s job to point out what he/she perceives are negatives about you. You don’t have to help him/her do it. Stay positive. In court you will have the chance (hopefully) to testify to facts and your attorney can cross examine your ex about anything you are being accused of.
Although it’s very difficult, try to shake it off and enjoy yourself. Don’t dwell on crazy tactics your ex is using against you. Your ex only derives pleasure from watching it affect you. Do not give him/her the satisfaction. Also, don’t try to one up them. All that happens in that case is that you keep the animosity flowing and create larger legal bills and a longer battle.
It is very easy for an event to be taken out of context or twisted to make you look crazy. Explain your case to your attorney and allow them to deal with it or not. They may choose not to. The best way to be successful in family court matters, and especially custody battles, is to stay focused on the kids and the outcome. If the crazy accusation won’t mean a thing after you are happily divorced and have custody of your children, then it really isn’t worth your time and attention.
As always, when you are upset with your ex, do not call them. Do not call to vent to your lawyer. A lawyer is not a therapist and should NEVER be treated as one. Many lawyers are good people, but they are not there to be your therapist or friend. You have friends and families for the venting. Keep your cool and keep a professional demeanor anytime you are talking to your lawyer, a court authority, your children’s teacher or a doctor. It will make the battle much easier. The more you can calmly work through the family court craziness, the closer you are to putting it behind you and having your life back!