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Don’t ask for a “trial by combat” in your pending divorce

Emotions often run high during a divorce. After all, the people involved once believe they would spend their whole lives together. Those intense emotions can lead people to behave in uncharacteristically aggressive or irrational manners during divorce. Letting your emotions run the show and focusing on revenge or winning in a divorce can lead you to make questionable legal decisions.

Having an attorney advise you about your divorce strategy can help you avoid common pitfalls that come out of the intense emotions associated with a divorce. A counselor or therapist can also help you process those emotions in a healthy and positive manner. Failing to recognize the power of your emotions can result in making potentially disastrous legal mistakes.

A recent case from the Iowa family courts involving a bizarre court filing demonstrates just how irrational the emotions of divorce can make some people.

An Iowa man going through a divorce wants to fight his ex-wife or her attorney with a sword

Some people do see divorce itself or the term set by the family courts as dehumanizing or offensive. When someone believes that the actions of the courts or their former spouse impact their honor or reputation, they may have a powerful impulse to counter what they see as damage to their reputation.

A man in Iowa came up with a solution for the perceived slights against his honor that is as morally questionable as it is legally problematic. He filed the request with the family courts to resolve the disputes in his divorce via a trial by combat. He went so far as to ask for 12 weeks of "lead time" in order to locate either katana or wakizashi Japanese swords that would be battle ready for the trial by combat.

In his filing, the man in question points out that neither the Iowa state nor the federal Constitution or laws specifically prohibit trial by combat. However, his strategy appears to have backfired almost instantly. His wife's attorney not only pointed out a significant misspelling in his initial filing, but he also requested that the courts terminate visitation for the man in question and mandate a psychological evaluation.

Violence is never the solution to family law problems

Just like you can't abuse or intimidate your spouse into staying in an unhappy marriage, you cannot use the courts as a means to threaten violence against your spouse. Such threats can impact how the courts rule in your divorce.

Requesting a trial by combat is effectively asking the courts to sanction interpersonal violence. Potential violence could influence your custody time with your children and cause other problems with your pending family law case, including giving rise to questions about your mental and emotional state.

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