Bruce Law Firm June 2019

Boundary Testing During Divorce

How to Put a Stop to the Manipulative Cycle


In many of the divorces we come across, spouses will “boundary test” or see if they can control you and your lawyer. We see this especially in cases where control issues have been a pattern in the marriage, and though the behavior isn’t exclusive to men, we do see boundary testing more often from manipulative, controlling husbands.

Our advice? Be assertive but don’t be a jerk.


The key is to halt the previous relationship pattern of your spouse controlling you and the marriage. Don’t let this continue into the divorce. Show your spouse their control ends now. If your spouse sees that they can control you or your lawyer, the divorce process is going to be tough. I know it’s not easy. Start one day at a time. It can be as simple as not following his rules anymore. As you stand up for yourself, your spouse may accuse you of being controlled by your lawyer or someone else. But you know what? It doesn’t matter. As you feel stronger, you will know you are taking steps toward a better life. Don’t engage in manipulative conversations with your spouse; they’re a dead-end street. If your spouse gives you ultimatums or makes demands, let your lawyer deal with it. That’s what you’re paying them for! Know that boundary testing may be an issue during the divorce. When you can, take small steps now to stand up for yourself. If you don’t already have a therapist, consider finding one to help you through the divorce process. Take a look at therapists we have listed on or call our office, and we’ll reach out to our network and find qualified people for you to consider.

Setting some time aside to be with family is important, but it can be difficult when everyone is always on their cellphones. Constant cellphone use has become a global problem, and the habit is hard to break because we rely on mobile devices heavily for work, school, and keeping in contact with friends and family. Luckily, there are plenty of apps that can reduce how often you’re on your phone and minimize distractions. SIEMPO After you install Siempo on your phone, it will ask which apps are likely to distract you. Once you select them, the app will move those apps away from the home screen and place the important ones, such as the messaging, contacts, email, and calendar apps, on the first screen. You can also designate times for specific apps to be used throughout the day. STAY FOCUSED Stay Focused is like Siempo, but there are some significant differences. You can set times to access certain apps and put the most distracting ones on lock. Stay Focused also has a “strict mode” that prevents you from uninstalling it, so be sure to think carefully before activating the lockdown because you won’t have access to those specific apps until the timer runs out. FOREST In the time that Forest takes control of your device for a set time limit, the app starts growing a tree. Once the tree is fully grown, your time is up, and it joins the other trees that were grown during other breaks. If you pick up your phone and try to access an app, Forest will send you a notification asking you if you want to kill your baby tree by giving up. Who says guilt isn’t a good motivator? BESIDES APPS Aside from using these apps, silencing your phone and putting it in another room, leaving it in your car if you’re out at dinner, or keeping it in your purse or back pocket during a social event can also reduce your screen time. Having your phone out of sight and out of reach will keep the temptation of pulling it out at bay.

We cover boundary testing and other topics on our website and have all of this information available in videos.We know divorce is not easy, but you will get through this!

Is your friend or client in need of a guide as they prepare for divorce? our divorce strategy book can help! The book can be downloaded for FREE at If your friend or client lives in the South Florida area, we will mail them a hard copy of the book upon request.

Spending time with your family is crucial, and with these apps and tips, you’ll enjoy each other’s company without too many screen distractions.

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