Common Threats Made During Divorce And Custody Cases [Updated 2019]

It never fails that every week we get a frantic phone call from a client telling us that their soon to be ex is threatening to take inappropriate, and sometimes illegal action. 

Just know that 99.9% of the time the threats listed below are not reasonable and if your ex follows through, the action will be viewed very negatively by the judge in your case. 

In our opinion, the best thing to do is ignore these statements and move forward with resolving your divorce or custody case. 

Below we have listed common examples of threats made by a spouse or an ex during a divorce or custody case. 

Threat #1: "I'll quit my job and I won’t have to pay you anything."

The idea that a spouse or an ex can just quit their job and avoid paying alimony or child support is ridiculous!

Our recommendations?

Try to get this comment in writing or try to get the opposing party to say it in front of other people. 

If you don’t have a witness or a written admission, it will be difficult to prove the other side’s intent to avoid paying support. 

Even if you cant get proof of the other side making this statement, you should know that your spouse cannot simply avoid their child support and alimony obligations by quitting their job, voluntarily taking a demotion or cutting back their hours. 

If your ex or your spouse does take such actions to avoid making payments, it is likely the Court will require your spouse to find a new way to make the payments of support anyway. This is often referred to as imputing income. 

KEY TAKEAWAY: Quitting your job to avoid support payments in a divorce or custody case is not an option. Ignore these statements as it is unlikely a judge will give your ex a break for quitting to avoid paying support. 

Threat #2: "I will tell them ‘a, b and c’ and you will never get the children."

We hear this in almost every custody case we have. 

“A, b and c” could be anything whether it is true or not. 

This could be anything from a wild night out with your friends to a prior affair to the fact that you may have seen a therapist or psychologist. 

Just know, this threat has no teeth! 

Judges determine custody and visitation based on the best interests of your children is the extremely rare circumstance that a parent “never gets to see the children.” 

Remember that these threats are designed to intimidate you and upset you. 

Remember though to document the threats and identify any witnesses who may have heard the statements.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Chances are the “a, b and c” are not relevant to your custody case and should be ignored. 

Threat #3: “Your attorney just wants your money” or “let’s just use my attorney and save money”

This type of threat is designed to divide and conquer. 

Any ethical attorney knows he cannot represent both parties in a divorce or custody case – this could be a conflict of interest. 

Experienced family law attorneys will look for ways to save you money and a knowledgeable divorce or custody attorney should be able to resolve your case quickly without unnecessary expense and prolonged litigation. 

Plus, most clients become aware early on if their lawyer is incompetent or does not have their client’s interests prioritized. 

A statement like this is best documented and then ignored.

KEY TAKEAWAY: Get your own and if you want to share a lawyer, ask about whether or not it's a conflict for the lawyer to represent you and your ex.

Threat #4: "If you don’t divide things the way I want, the judge will order that we sell everything." 

Again, this type of threat is usually without merit. 

It is very rare that a Court orders a sale of all of the assets unless there is good reason for it.

The Court will need to make a finding that selling everything benefits both parties more than just awarding assets to one party or another. 

Sometimes the Court will award an asset to one spouse and order the receiving spouse to reimburse the non-receiving spouse one half of the value of the asset. 

KEY TAKEAWAY: It is unlikely you will be ordered to sell your prized possessions, your cars and/or your real estate.

Threat #5: "You'll never see the kids again." 

It never fails that each week, we get a call from a client saying their ex is threatening to keep the kids. . . FOREVER

This threat has no merit. 
Document it, identify witnesses and then ignore it. 

You should know that kidnapping in Nevada is a Category D Felony and carries jail time as well as fines. 

Also know that a spouse that kidnaps the children is likely to be the spouse that only sees the children through supervised visitation. 

A parent that intentionally and continuously interferes with the other parent’s custodial time may have their own custodial time reduced or eliminated. 

KEY TAKEAWAY: Failure to allow visitation is one of the reasons why judge’s change custody from one parent to the other. 


Document these threats and notify your family law attorney when these threats are made.

Remember, these threats are common, and will usually backfire on the person making them. 

Don’t be intimidated or get upset when you hear such threats and comments. 

If you or someone you know is in need of an attorney for a custody or divorce case, call us at (702) 433-2889 or fill out our on-line form for more information. We can help.

Other articles that might be helpful: Child Custody, Divorce, Father's Rights in Custody Cases, Myths About Custody Court5 Tips For Getting Divorced Fast

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