Here are some kinds of fears and threats that come up in a divorce situation.

  • The threat of physical harm (usually by the husband).
  • The threat to contest custody (usually by the husband).
  • The threat to declare bankruptcy or quit his job (usually by the husband).
  • Kidnapping of the children.

The Threat of Physical Harm (Usually by the Husband)

If you have ever been abused, chances are that the abuse will continue once you have begun to discuss divorce.

The court system can take steps to protect you. Tell your lawyer you want to get a "restraining order" against your husband.

The court can require your husband to leave the home, not to approach closer than 100 feet from you, or even to stay out of your neighborhood.

Some men ignore restraining orders, but if they do they risk going to jail.

Many men do obey restraining orders, so it may well be worth a try.

The Threat to Contest Custody (Usually by the Husband)

Often, husbands threaten to challenge the wife for sole custody without really intending to follow through on that challenge.

One piece of advice is not to become too shaken. Read through our discussion of what judges care about when they award custody. You may find that you are very likely to be awarded custody, in fact, and this can help you relax.

Some women find that if their husbands actually take the kids for a school week, the experience makes the husbands drop their custody request. But this is a very risky move to take, because a court could easily conclude from this that you would be willing to see your husband get custody.

The Threat to Declare Bankruptcy or Quit His Job (Usually By the Husband)

Some spouses, typically husbands, declare that they’ll quit their jobs and leave the wife destitute. Or, they declare that they’ll file for bankruptcy.

In most cases, you can relax. Spouses rarely carry through on those threats — they have too much to lose themselves. 

On the other hand, if your spouse continues to have this attitude, your case will be more expensive (for both of you) than it has to be.

Some judges will penalize this behavior by awarding more property to the cooperative spouse.
And, should worst come to worst, it may be comforting to know that child support and alimony obligations do not go away, even if your spouse does declare bankruptcy.

Kidnapping of the children

Here are some things you can do if you fear a kidnapping:

  • Hire a lawyer and get a custody order, even a temporary order. Click here for why this is important.
  • Give a copy of your order to local police. This will let them get right on the case in the event of a kidnapping.
  • Have your lawyer register the order with the court clerk in the county where your spouse lives. This will prevent your spouse from starting a custody action there.
  • Think about attending counseling with your husband, in order to listen to his frustrations and attempt to address them.
  • If your spouse threatens to kidnap your children, ask local police to speak with him about the penalties.
  • Report to the police any threats your spouse makes. That way, the threats will be on file. This will increase your credibility if you call to report a kidnapping.
  • Warn your children. Have them practice making collect or calling-card telephone calls to your phone number and dialing "911." Tell them that you will always love them, and to beware if they are told by your spouse that you have died. A parent who abducts a child often tells the child that the other spouse abandoned the child. Or, the kidnapping spouse may claim that the other parent has died.
  • Keep current photos of your children and your spouse handy. Also have information such as their social security numbers, birthmarks, weight, height, names and photos of their friends.
  • Consider having your children fingerprinted at the local police station.
  • Coordinate with the schools. Deposit your certified custody order in your school’s office. Make sure that every teacher knows that you are concerned about possible kidnapping. Make sure they know when your spouse is expected. Ask them to call you immediately if your spouse shows up unexpectedly and not to allow your spouse to leave with your child. If your spouse does leave, make sure the teachers know to call the police immediately.
  • Stay on good terms with in-laws and your spouse’s siblings. They may eventually lead you to the children.
  • Prepare a notebook to hand to police in the event of a kidnapping. 

SOURCE: Family Law Software