At times, people gain the best insight by learning of someone else’s challenges. Meanwhile, just about everyone admits that divorce represents a difficult time. Just how bad it often depends on the parties and their individual circumstances. So, what happens when things just get ugly, leading up to divorce?
Truth be told, it’s not that uncommon an occurrence. More than one psychologist opines on the remarkable correspondence between love and hate. No doubt, the transition between overwhelming endearment to sabotage represents a confusing phenomenon.
Too often, the level of malcontent between married couples rises to issues with domestic violence. This results in even further problems, including the prospect of restraining orders. In some cases, it goes as far as criminal convictions. And, yes, the threat of incarceration.
A recent New Jersey case focused on the naming of a baby conceived before the parties divorced. However, the exchanges between the husband and wife really demonstrate just how ugly things can get. It may even add to your perspective concerning your individual situation.
Things Got Ugly in this Divorce
The New Jersey Appellate Division decided R.B. v. A.B. on May 20, 2019. Like many appeals cases stemming from family matters, the court used initials to represent the names of the parties. This is done to protect their confidentiality.
Notably, the Appellate Division also withheld publication of this matter. This is because it does not represent new law and is not binding on anyone other than R.B. and A.B.
In this matter, A.B. is the wife and mother, who separated from R.B. on July 7, 2017. As you can see from the caption of the case, she is also the defendant. At the time of the separation, A.B. was in the fourth month of her pregnancy, which was coincidentally days after the couple’s four-month wedding anniversary.
The parties separated after allegations concerning domestic violence. According to R.B., he noticed the defendant’s car parked at a Rite Aid. Although the plaintiff wasn’t in the car, her four-year-old son (from a prior relationship) was inside. It was the Fourth of July and temperatures soared to ninety degrees.
R.B. decided to go in the store and retrieve the car keys from his wife. He then remotely started the vehicle’s air conditioning. The case history appears unclear as to what happened next. However, A.B. seemed upset once the parties reached home. She demanded her medication and a divorce.
Apparently. A.B. was more than a little disturbed. R.B. reported that she returned to her car and tried to run him over. Subsequently, she sped away. When A.B. returned to the house, she became aggressive. She threw things around and destroyed them. Some were even made of glass.
Sadly, the incident occurred in front of A.B.’s three minor children from another relationship. R.B. enlisted the assistance of A.B’s nine-year-old to call for the police. A.B. went so far as to claim R.B. pushed her down the stairs. Her son disputed the details of the event.
According to R.B., the situation became worse. The defendant physically assaulted him. He was granted a temporary restraining order and filed for divorce.
In the meantime, A.B. offered a different version of the events. She said R.B. was actually the abusive one. In addition to allegations of physical violence, the defendant claimed her husband sent her a bunch of nasty text messages. Some are too vulgar to recite here.
Ultimately, the plaintiff dismissed his temporary restraining order. Instead, the parties entered into a consent order, which contains thirteen separate items. A few deal with A.B.’s pending pregnancy. One includes the parties’ agreement concerning the name of the unborn child.
Prior to the baby’s birth in December 2017, A.B. and R.B. entered into a parenting plan. It was never dated or signed.
Unborn Child: One of the Issues
One of the issues in this matter involved the unborn child. Although R.B. questioned whether he was the father, a paternity test showed he was. Notwithstanding, the defendant accused A.B. of feigning pregnancy on numerous occasions.
As the saga continued, the two continued to fight. The plaintiff discovered that A. B. spoke poorly of him on social media. In the meantime, R.B. asserted that the defendant really had no interest in their unborn baby.
When A.B. didn’t show up for the birth of the child, A.B. decided to give the baby her surname. This conflicted with the terms of the consent agreement. However, the issue did not come up as the parties continued with the dissolution of their marriage.
Meanwhile, A.B. and R.B. engaged in further disputes. They moved on to issues concerning custody and parenting time. Ultimately, it appeared evident the two had problems with co-parenting.
Although R.B. reminded the court that the consent order required A.B. to give the child his surname, he did so without the best interests of the child analysis.
Once again, the whole matter leading to divorce seemed ugly. And, it didn’t help that a child was center to the action. The child’s name was changed to the father’s surname.
Citing prior case law, the Appellate Division disagreed. After all, R.B. was not present during the birth. The circumstances regarding his failure to attend appeared disputed, as he claimed the mother never informed him of the pending delivery.
In the end, the Appeals Court remanded the case to the lower court. It also asked for the court to appoint a guardian ad litem considering the best interests of the child.