The Law Of Karma in Divorce

Carrie Sue Doxsee, J.D.
4 min readApr 23, 2021

The journey through divorce- Control and Anger

Is Karma the retribution you are looking for?

They say “What goes around comes around!”. Maybe it is all about the “Karma” that comes when someone does something you don’t like. Are all those people who are telling you that your Spouse will “get what’s coming to them” right?

Did your Spouse…

Cheat on you?

* take all the money out of the Joint Checking Bank Accounts?

* pull up a moving van and take everything out of the house while you were playing golf?

* take the kids and won’t let you see them?

* turn off the utilities, cell phone, cable, and internet after they moved out?

* took you off the health insurance?

* filed a false Petition for Order of Protection just to get possession of the house?

* hurt you physically in some way during separation?

* destroyed some of your stuff or damaged it… maybe sold it?

* told your kids something terrible about you?

* gambled all your savings and your retirement?

Lots of people do some pretty terrible things to each other during a divorce. Some of which are forgivable or fixable and others have no real way to repair.

The real problem is that often the retribution you are looking for does not come. It might be because the attorney does not fight for it. It could be the Judge just wants the Parties to move forward and not look back. Most of the time, even if there is a consequence, it is not something that helps you feel vindicated or can make you feel whole.

If you are looking at the Judge to spank your husband or wife because of cheating — it probably won’t happen. Friends or family may tell you they will regret what they have done — they may or they may not. They will get away with it most of the time and if they regret it you might never know. Society just does not seem to care anymore. Your friends won’t drop them and their family won’t stand on your side. You are expected to walk into divorce settlement talks as if nothing happened — as if you could.

If you want the Judge to do something about the Spouse bad mouthing you to the kids — the best you are going to get is MAYBE the Judge saying something to them. No parenting time gets taken away. Nothing SEEMS to happen. What does happen is that it will destroy their relationship with your child and strengthen your bond with them. There are times the old adage “Good things come to those who wait” is exactly true.

Does this mean that all bad behavior has no consequences?

Absolutely not.

If a parent is trying to alienate you from your child, the Court can do something about it — but you have to push super hard and be prepared to put in the time and money to prove it.

If there has been physical abuse of you and the children, the Court will take time away from that parent and only allow supervised contact.

If a parent has continued to not allow you contact, depending on the circumstances (and especially if you already had a custody order), you will be seen as the parent who is most likely to allow contact and will have an advantage when it comes to “primary” custody.

Conclusion — don’t count on Karma… prove your allegations.

The Court can consider bad behavior of a Spouse in the division of the assets in debts. In Missouri, the best that can be done is a 60/40 split… but it is something. Cheaters who spend money on the affair or that other person can receive less in the division. Gamblers will get less of the assets. Domestic Violence can give the higher percentage to the injured Spouse. It could be that when there is no good way to divide something, the benefit goes to the injured Spouse. It might not be the answer you wanted, but it can count in the money department.

Issue with Parenting find their way into the decision of the Judge one way or the other. Maybe it is about credibility of the testimony. It could be that when there does not seem to be a good way to find middle ground, the person who has wronged the other gets the short end of the stick. It might give a parent more time or less child support or the extra summer time they are asking to receive. Again, it might not be what you wanted, and it might not fix the person from the bad behavior going forward, but you are likely to get something else you wanted as a consolation prize.

So prove your allegations. Just be careful. Sometimes the more you know only hurts you MORE but does not punish them LESS.