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Don’t Let Your Ex Bully You: Get Help from an Experienced Long Island, NY Divorce Attorney

by | Nov 28, 2023 | Divorce Long Island, NY

The term “bullying” usually conjures scenes of pushing and shoving and taunting in the school yard, almost always with one kid getting picked on one or a group. But the problem can extends much further than this, even beyond cyber bullying and into adulthood with workplace and even relationship aggression. Many people are bullied in their own relationships, marriages, and divorces and feel they have few resources to turn to.

If you’re dealing with a “divorce bully,” the process of dissolving your marriage is often made more complex just for the sake of it. The amount of time, stress, and money it costs you goes up exponentially, often with no end in sight. Here’s what to know about fighting a divorce bully and how a qualified Long Island, NY family lawyer can help.

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What Is Divorce Bullying?

Divorce bullying occurs when one spouse engages in manipulative or aggressive behavior toward or about the other spouse, usually with the objective of gaining an unfair advantage in the divorce proceedings. How divorce bullying manifests differs widely between marriages and spouses, but recognizing and addressing the issue early on is key to protecting yourself and your family.

What Does Divorce Bullying Look Like?

Sometimes, it can be difficult to recognize divorce bullying for what it is. Here are some examples of what it can look like:

Emotional or Verbal Abuse

Your spouse may yell at you or belittle and berate you throughout the divorce process at every opportunity. This makes the split unnecessarily difficult, especially for children who are watching one parent treat the other poorly and pick up on that behavior.

Financial Abuse or Manipulation

Your spouse may limit your access to funds that you share or may hide your credit cards so you can’t spend any money. They may hide assets, lie to you about how much money they have, or manipulate you out of money that you earn. The goal for these bullies is usually to put you in a position where you have to rely on them financially or just to negatively impact your finances in some way.

Harassment and Stalking

Your spouse may leave threatening comments online on your social media profiles, or they may text or email you repeatedly to harass you at all hours of the day and night. Some spouses graduate to stalking and resort to following their exes, even to the point of putting surveillance equipment in, on, or around their property.

False Accusations

A divorce bully may make false accusations against their spouse in an attempt to gain control over a situation or make their spouse look bad in the eyes of their children, family, or the court. They may accuse you of child abuse, domestic violence, lying about assets, or any number of despicable acts they can think of to leverage against you.

What Do I Do If My Spouse Starts Bullying Me During Our Divorce?

Dealing with a divorce bully is emotionally exhausting and can make the process so much worse. Here are some things you can do to start fighting back:

  • Document everything. Keep copies of emails, texts, photos, and any other evidence you may be able to use to show a judge that your spouse was out of line.
  • Limit communication with your spouse. Let them know that you will only be available for certain periods of time and via specific means of communication, such as texting from 5 pm to 6 pm.
  • Get professional help. Work with a counselor or therapist who can help you manage the difficult emotions that come with being bullied by your soon-to-be-ex.
  • Get safe. If your spouse becomes violent, assaults you, or makes threats against you or your loved ones, it’s critical that you contact the police and get the authorities involved.

How the Long Island Divorce Lawyers at Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C. Can Help

At Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C., we understand how emotionally challenging divorce is, especially when one spouse is being unnecessarily combative and difficult to deal with. If you find yourself fighting for what’s rightfully yours in a divorce with a bully, you need aggressive legal advocacy as soon as possible. Contact our office today to learn more or to schedule your free initial consultation at 631-923-1910 Or fill out the short form on this page.

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About the Author

Robert E. Hornberger, Esq., Founding Partner, Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.

  • Over 20 years practicing matrimonial law
  • Over 1,000 cases successfully resolved
  • Founder and Partner of Hornberger Verbitsky, P.C.
  • Experienced and compassionate Long Island Divorce Attorney, Family Law Attorney, and Divorce Mediator
  • Licensed to practice law in the State of New York
  • New York State Bar Association member
  • Nassau County Bar Association member
  • Suffolk County Bar Association member
  • “Super Lawyer” Metro Rising Star
  • Nominated Best of Long Island Divorce Attorney four consecutive years
  • Alternative Dispute Resolution Committee Contributor
  • Collaborative Law Association of New York – Former Director
  • Martindale Hubbell Distinguished Designation
  • America’s Most Honored Professionals – Top 5%
  • Lead Counsel Rated – Divorce Law
  • American Institute of Family Law Attorneys 10 Best
  • International Academy of Collaborative Professionals
  • Graduate of Hofstra University School of Law
  • Double Bachelor’s degrees in Philosophy, Politics & Law and History from SUNY Binghamton University
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Melissa Rappa
Melissa Rappa
18:09 08 Feb 24
At one of the hardest and most stressful times of my life, it was so comforting to have a team at Hornberger and Verbitsky who ALWAYS responded in record speed to my questions, phone calls, emails or texts and who I felt really cared about helping me through this difficult time. It was a long few years and I am grateful to all of you. Thank you so much Rob, AnneMarie, Christine, Patty, Joan and Lawrence. Your guidance, professionalism and expertise is appreciated beyond measure.
Paul Carmichael
Paul Carmichael
16:21 11 Dec 23
I would give 6 stars if I could. I can't say enough good things about Robert and his firm. We were in a situation for over 2 years and I could have never made it through without Robert's experience and knowledge. He guided me through tough times when needed and his expertise could "read" the situation and make the next best move for me. He was tough when he needed to be tough (thankfully) and at the same time guided me through the process to make me feel comfortable in an uncomfortable situation. I would not want to go through this process without Robert and his team having my back. he helped move the case along and not waste any time or money. One last time, I 100% endorse Robert and his expertise.

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