The answers to that are as varied as the people you ask. The bottom line is, the instant your soon to be ex spouse begins showing signs of unfairness, that is when it’s critical to switch gears from amicable, to hardball.
If your spouse is attempting to place unreasonable financial demands on you, it’s time to play hardball. Be it spousal support, child support, an unfair split of assets, or even trying to dictate that you pay all outstanding marital bills. Sadly, in most divorce proceedings money takes precedence over all other issues. One spouse generally feels entitled to more, and will attempt to take it all. While division of property and child support are issues that need to be dealt with, there is a limit to how much, or little, is reasonable and fair.
If your spouse is trying to deny you access to the children you share, it’s time to play hardball. This is especially true when you want to file for physical custody. Be insistent that your legal, moral and genetic rights as a parent are not overlooked or shoved to the side. Courts are slowly opening their eyes to the fact that sometimes a child is better off being raised by their father, as opposed to the mother. Fathers should not give up easily if they want to raise their children. Custody issues have a way of becoming very hostile and counterproductive. Hardball is often the only way to handle this aspect of divorce.
If your spouse is filing allegations of abuse or neglect that you are not guilty of, it’s time to play hardball. Surprisingly this matter rears it’s head in courtrooms across the country at an alarming rate. Women especially, know that if they hint of abuse by their spouse, this sways a judge’s decision sometimes. This is one case where “ignoring it and it will go away”, is not true. Stand up for yourself and set the record straight. By not defending your character, you open up the door to having child custody and/or support being unfairly decided based on the judge’s incorrect opinions of you.
The best answer to the question “When should you play hardball in divorce proceedings?” is simply, the moment one spouse shows signs of being unfair, unreasonable, or willingness to use the bank account and children as a weapon to get back at you. It is imperative that you insist on a fair, and just ending.