Wife Uses Reputation-Damaging Photos To Blackmail Husband Into Divorce Settlement
In most divorce cases, the parties agree on the terms of their marital settlement agreement during mediation. The judge does not have to make any decisions; instead, the judge simply formalizes the divorce by issuing a court order based on the marital settlement agreement that the parties themselves chose. A marital settlement agreement implies that the parties understand the agreement and entered into it through their own consent. If one spouse coerced, deceived, or intimidated the other into signing the marital settlement agreement, this is considered intrinsic fraud on the court. The statute of limitations for raising issues of intrinsic fraud in divorce cases is one year. It is best to be completely open with your lawyer about all the issues in your divorce case, financial and otherwise. Your Palm Beach County divorce lawyer can protect you from bullying and dishonest tactics by your spouse during your divorce.
When Your Spouse Threatens to Expose Your Affair Partner’s Secret
Kristopher and Sabrina separated in 2013, when she discovered that he was having an affair. Before they went to mediation, Sabrina told Kristopher that she had pictures of him and his affair partner, and that she would share the pictures and expose the affair unless he agreed to give her the property and parenting time she was requesting in the divorce. (The court decision says that the pictures were “of a private nature,” but it does not specify how Sabrina got the pictures or to whom she threatened to show them. Perhaps the affair partner was also married, and if her husband saw the pictures, it would break up her marriage.) Fearing what would happen if Sabrina shared the pictures, Kristopher agreed to the terms that Sabrina requested, which included alimony and paying her attorney’s fees.
The court adopted the parties’ marital settlement agreement and dissolved the marriage in 2014. Kristopher filed several motions to modify the terms of the divorce, but the court rejected all of these. In 2017, he filed a motion to set aside the marital settlement agreement on the grounds of intrinsic fraud, since Sabrina had blackmailed him into agreeing to terms favorable to her for the divorce. The trial court dismissed this motion because it did not fall within the one-year statute of limitations for raising issues of intrinsic fraud. The appeals court affirmed the trial court’s decision to dismiss Kristopher’s motion to set aside the marital settlement agreement.
The moral of the story is, if your spouse starts making threats, talk to your lawyer before you decide whether those threats are credible. Showing your spouse that you aren’t scared, even if it means a judge finding out your secrets, is better than acting out of fear. Simply having an affair does not always count against you in a divorce case.
Contact Us Today for Help
A Boca Raton divorce lawyer can help you avoid intimidation, coercion, and other dishonest and underhanded tactics in your divorce case. Contact Schwartz | White for help today.