Legal Domestic Abuse
When the Length of Your Divorce
Litigation Is Lethal

Dr. King


by Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D.

One of the ploys commonly used in divorce proceedings is called “scorched-earth.” It’s intended to prolong the process and starve out the economically un-empowered litigant. It’s a very effective strategy. Here’s why and herein lies why it’s lethal.

Scorched-Earth Divorce Ploy

Women coast-to-coast report their frustration around the length of time their lives are tied up in divorce litigation. And, more often than not, they feel helpless in their ability to effect change.

Most of these women are in the process of obtaining a divorce, yet there is no actual litigation. Instead, there’s loads of talk, planning and alleged positioning for the legal battle.

You might say that all the talk, planning and positioning is the key element in the legal war. It’s the shell that houses the scorched-earth strategy. Or you could say, it’s the vehicle for delivering it.

All awhile, time goes is consumed by legal “homework.” And resources previously available to maintain you dry up and become undeliverable. In utter dismay, you awaken to your stagnation and the potential for an empty estate with no end in sight.

Legal Romance and Legal Misrepresentations

What’s a tired, hungry disenchanted litigant to do? Chances are you arrive at the conclusion that your attorney is not delivering what was originally promised. So as to take charge of this matter, you seek substitution of counsel.

You set out to shop for the absolute best attorney in town. And you convince yourself that this time you are going to make a better decision because you are more versed in divorce and the nuances of your case.

You do your research and find just the “right” attorney. He/she promises to go and get what you are seeking, which in most cases is closure. What counsel may fail to reveal is that the strategy to get to closure could be the same strategy that inspired your being in his/her office in this very moment.

Your longing is great and the stakes are high. Counsel is charming, knowledgeable, well respected and very expensive. In your heart of hearts, you rally up the commitment to trust once again. And you consummate your new legal relationship with a hefty retainer.

When the Length of Litigation is Lethal

Now you are on your second, third, forth (or ninth) attorney and the crusade continues. Your mission is the same: You seek divorce closure and your right for you and your children to benefit from your marital estate.

However, the planning, preparing and positioning continue ad nauseam ...once again, with no sense of actual forward momentum nor end in sight. What’s different is the players. Now you have a new attorney yelling at you, telling you that you better get your mental status up to speed or else you will lose. He/she convinces you that the war will be upon you and your “disadvantage” is your enemy.

The lethal part here is the set of lies that you buy into in order to stay afloat in your divorce proceedings. You believe that doing all of your legal assignments will get you the closure you seek. You believe you are the “problem” in your case and the reason you may not get the justice you deserve. You convince yourself that your counsel controls the dynamics of your divorce proceedings and has created a straight line to your closure.

Think again, because these thoughts could be lethal. These thoughts can serve to re-engage you right back into the scorched earth, which you thought you fled.

Nourishment, Promise and Closure

If you want closure in your divorce, look to the larger dynamics of your case. Understand that you are part of a system. Your nourishment and closure start from within...and, from here, may inspire those individuals and conditions around you.

For more information about legal domestic abuse, visit and claim your Free Instant Access to Survivor Success eInsights. Psychologist Dr. Jeanne King, Ph.D. helps people nationwide recognize, end and heal from domestic abuse. © Jeanne King, Ph.D. — Domestic Violence Prevention and Intervention


Dr. Jeanne King is a licensed psychologist and domestic abuse consultant. Feel free to contact us if you need help with physical and/or emotional pain, stress-related illnesses, or relationship abuse issues at home or in court. Contact Us to reach Dr. King.