If you know that your spouse is lying, inform your lawyer. You are not permitted to talk during the trial while someone else is testifying, so write down anything that your spouse (or anyone else) says that is not true. If it’s urgent, slide the paper over to your lawyer so he or she can read it immediately. If it can wait, talk to your lawyer during a court break. Never allow yourself to have an emotional outburst while court is in session.
Immediately think about what you or someone else knows that will prove that your spouse is lying. If there is a document already in evidence which proves that your spouse is lying, then so much the better. Your lawyer can bring it to the attention of the court. If the court decides your spouse is lying, his or her entire case will be undermined, even if the lie is about a small issue. Click here for an article about spouses lying during divorce cases.
Sometimes the lie is about such a small issue that it isn’t worth bringing up to the court or the judge. Sometimes what you perceive as a “lie” is just a different person’s interpretation of the facts. On the other hand, if your spouse says, “I never took money out of the account” and you have canceled checks from the account showing he or she withdrew $2,000 two days before filing divorce papers, this needs to come to the court’s attention. You and your lawyer can decide together what is worthwhile to pursue, and what is best let go.
Why your spouse’s lie feels so horrible and how to react
Because so much is on the line at trial, when your spouse lies it inflames your sense of injustice. This person is taking you and your life apart, and then trying to lie, putting money above a relationship to you or your children. It reminds you of all the unfairness in the relationship, all the broken promises and smashed dreams. You are especially angry if you know that your spouse is capable of being a more decent person when less self-interested. It is infuriating to have someone get away with an injustice in the forum that is supposed to protect people and see through the deceit. You long for the court to see through your spouse’s manipulations; can’t somebody see what he or she does when it is so obvious?! Whether or not the court can tell that this is a lie, such behavior will likely resurface many times again. You must accept that others may not be able to see your ex as you do, and that you may never get justice. Let it remind you that this is why you are divorcing and it is more important to minimize future interactions with this person than to prove something here. Let it reinforce that you are fighting to separate your lives, not to punish each other. For some information about how to get support when things are tough, click here.
Excerpted from Your Divorce Advisor: A Lawyer and a Psychologist Guide You Through the Legal and Emotional Landscape of Divorce (Simon & Schuster/Fireside 2001). For more information: http://www.yourdivorceadvisor.com/.
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