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Divorce tips when your spouse has a "strong" personality

These days, we all hear a lot about bullying in America's schools. But as we all know, bullies aren't just in the schoolyard; eventually, they grow up. You might even be married to one.

Not only can your partner's high intensity play a role in causing the deterioration of your marriage, it can also create unique challenges in your divorce. Even so, the right divorce lawyer and a few simple tips can help you keep your finances and sanity intact while divorcing a domineering parter.

Understanding what is motivating your soon-to-be ex spouse is an important part of keeping your footing in the divorce. You might say that your spouse wants more than his or her fair share of assets. Yet, their true motivation may be more complex than simply wanting more "stuff." To many highly competitive and assertive individuals, divorce, like business or other endeavors, is a kind of game. They may not really be as motivated by the ultimate outcome as they are by just enjoying the sparring.

So how do you get back in the driver's seat? Rather than letting yourself be drawn into direct conflict - remember, this type of direct competition may be exactly what your spouse wants - try adopting a nonchalant attitude, at least outwardly. In other words, don't let your controlling spouse get to you.

Emotional readiness is only one piece of the puzzle. Spouses who are controlling may try to keep a tight grip on the finances, which can put you behind in property division if you let it happen. To prevent your spouse from doing any funny business, keep immaculate records and make copies of all financial documents covering the last few years of your marriage, like tax returns, bank statements and investment account paperwork.

You should also establish your own financial accounts as soon as you are able, and close any jointly shared accounts. Your spouse may attempt to siphon funds out of jointly held accounts, or run up bills in your name. In addition, it can be helpful logistically to have your own sources of money during the divorce while property division is still pending; having your own accounts will help make this happen.

Divorce isn't a competition; the key to successfully divorcing a controlling spouse is to not let him or her turn it into one.

Source: USA Today, Protect your finances while divorcing a bully, Elizabeth MacBride, June 23, 2013

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