Dirty Divorce Tricks Spouses Play | How to Avoid Them During Your Divorce

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there are few events in life that are

more emotional in the very beginning of

a divorce process emotions such as anger

and distrust that have built up over

months or sometimes even years can boil

out and cause even the most rational and

good and sane people to act irrationally

and treat their other spouse in the way

they never would we're gonna go over 11

of the common dirty tricks that we see

in our practice that we see spouses do

to other spouses

dirty trick number one hiding assets in

anticipation of a divorce it is common

for one of the spouses a husband or a

wife to have certain accounts that will

be titled solely these can be 401ks or

investment accounts or IRAs it's not

uncommon for one of the spouses to not

know about these accounts usually there

is one spouse that has made the mental

decision that they're going to file for

a divorce

so that they have time to plan if they

so choose to move assets around one of

the most common things that we see is a

spouse who has decided that they're

going to take some assets whether it's

an investment account asset or cash and

try to hide it weeks or months or even

years prior to filing for a divorce

now while that's a dirty trick the good

news is this that in our divorce process

your lawyer or your legal team is able

to go back in time and look forensic ly

at different bank accounts and checking

accounts and different investment

accounts to find if money's been moved

around and if needed you can enlist the

help of an expert accountant to trace

different funds to make sure that any

money that's been hidden from you is

found so that there can be a fair

distribution of your assets in a divorce

dirty trick number two starving a spouse

financially so it's not uncommon for in

traditional American families for one

spouse to be a breadwinner and for the

other spouse to maybe stay home or to

make less money and unfortunately it's

not uncommon at the beginning of the

divorce process for the spouse who's a

breadwinner to try to use the money that

he has try to leverage a better deal

against this vows how do they do this

when spouse can try to financially

starve the other spouse so for example a

breadwinner who normally deposits his

entire check into a joint operating

account decides that he's going to have

his check deposited into another account

and only deposit just enough money or

maybe a little bit less money into a

spouse's account that that spouse needs

to survive this can be problematic and

this happens way too much so what can

you do about it

well the reality is the court system can

help but it takes time in our court

system to get to court so you should

anticipate that if this is a possibility

that it's going to happen that you need

to have some additional source of funds

to at least carry you over for a month

or two or three until the court system

and your attorney can catch up this can

be a line of credit or this can be

making sure that you have access to a

credit card or if there are assets that

are jointly titled before it's too late

moving a portion of those assets into

another account that the needy spouse

will only have access to

dirty trick number three that we see in

a divorce process we see dirty trick

number three with small business owners

now small business owners control their

pay to a great extent and we know they

will pay themselves either through

dividends or through a salary and what

we see small business owners do in

anticipation of a divorce unfortunately

is they'll artificially suppress their

income so it looks like to the outside

world that they don't make as much money

as they really do how do they do this

well one way of doing this is to not

generate dividends they might otherwise

keeping the money in the business

another way of doing this is especially

if it's been premeditated and planned

over time to bring the salary down of

the spouse so it looks like they're

making less money than they really are

so that as soon as the divorce process

is over they can go ahead and dial it up

and ratchet it up and then generate more

income for themselves another thing that

we've seen recently a couple times is a

spouse who will then during the divorce

process who owns a business who will

hire a new employee but in reality that

employee will be a family member or a

mother in another country and what the

spouse will do is put that family member

on the books and start paying them out

and then at the end of the day that

family member will then go ahead and

funnel the money back to the spouse so

what can you do about this well simply

when we have small businesses and we

look at the numbers and we look at the

bank statements and we look at the

accounting and the QuickBooks and things

don't seem to add up well and willness

the help of accountant or professional

to come in and take a look at the books

someone who understands the business to

help us get to the bottom of it we can

go ahead and impute wages on the spouse

so that we can get the income to the

right level to make sure that the

results that we see in the divorce are

fair and

divorce dirty trick number four is one

spouse spending money wildly so

sometimes a person going through divorce

it's so angry that they think they would

rather see their money and get spent and

be gone they'd rather do scorched earth

they'd rather see it all gone so that

the other spouse doesn't get that and so

the thought process is that the angry

spouse will go ahead and just liquidate

assets and liquidate funds go gambling

you got going on some very expensive

trip and then just see it all disappear

this is a real concern and so what can

you do about it

well if you have access to those funds a

great first step is to make sure

especially if they're liquid funds like

cash or money that's an investment

account to go ahead and pull some of

that aside maybe half of the funds talk

to your lawyer about it but pull some of

those funds aside so that the spouse

who's angry and might be acting

irrationally can't access it in

liquidate it another possibility is to

go in front of a judge and say judge

listen I have legitimate concerns that

my spouse is acting irrationally and is

blowing through our funds I need you to

issue an injunction I need you to tell

the bank account where these funds are

at that they're not allowed to have the

funds spent or withdrawn by anyone now

the reality is that if a spouse does

something wrong legally speaking the

court can make sure at the end of the

day that they address that in their

final judgment so at the end of the day

the spouse who didn't do anything wrong

still gets a fair shake out of it but as

a practical matter when money spent it

can be very difficult to get it back so

the best thing that you can do is to

take actions now to make sure that those

funds are not spent

divorce dirty trick number five creating

fake emails and fake social media

profiles so that one spouse can create

fake evidence from the other spouse for

example in a recent child custody case

we had we represented dad who was having

a very very difficult very high conflict

custody case against mom and we got some

evidence we got some text messages

turned over by the other side that were

supposedly written by dad that

supposedly had dad saying some very very

very nasty things about mom evidence

that would have been very damning in

court and so we asked dad our client

what's going on why would you write

these horrible things I know this is a

high conflict custody case but this is

the mother of your child this is gonna

look horrible in court and dad said I

didn't do that I didn't write those

emails after a link to discovery process

it turned out that the mom had actually

created fake social media profiles and

fake text messaging accounts so that mom

was able to pretend to be dad and then

turn around and the mom pretending to be

dad wrote these really really mean

emails and text messages back to her we

were able to prove it in court but it

took some evidence it was a dirty trick

by mom ultimately it hurt mom big time

at the end of the case but it's

something to keep an eye out for

dirty divorce trick number six extortion

imagine the example where there is a

husband and a wife and the husband's in

the military and they're getting ready

to go through a divorce and the husband

he's done something he shouldn't have

done perhaps he's cheated on the wife or

maybe he Gamble's or does something

that's in the eyes of the military is

not going to be very good and in the

eyes of the military might cost the

husband his rank or further attempts to

to do better in the military to get

promoted and the parties are getting

ready to go through a divorce and the

wife says to the husband listen I know

that you did something that the military

is not gonna like I know that you had an

affair or I know that you went gambling

when you weren't supposed to go gambling

and I will tell the military and I will

bring you down unless you sign this

custody agreement that I want you to

sign unless you agree to give me mom all

custody of the kids now what's the

husband to do he's in a difficult spot

isn't he this sort of stuff happens a

lot now while it may seem like mom's

just using her bargaining power to her

advantage in the eyes of Florida courts

and in most courts she's not mom's

actually committing extortion mom is

actually doing something that's criminal

in nature and it's a second-degree

felony you see mom is trying to get dad

to do something that he does not want to

do and a big issue of his custody

arrangement by using something over his

head she's trying to threaten him in a

way that if he doesn't do what she wants

him to do she's going to hurt him that

is extortion it's a crime and if

something like that happens to you you

tell your lawyer about it because your

lawyer can take certain actions to try

to nip it in the bud before things get

out of hand

divorce dirty trick number seven

faking violence using it as a custody

play domestic violence is very real and

unfortunately we see way too much of it

in the divorce courts to help combat

domestic violence the law is created

what we call domestic violence

injunctions or restraining orders which

are a tool that a party who is a victim

of defect domestic violence can use they

can go to court and they can ask the

court for a restraining order to keep

the party that's committing violence

against them to keep them away and is

part of these restraining orders the

courts necessarily have to address

custody issues and if a restraining

order is granted we often see that the

party who gets the restraining order

will have time sharing with the kids or

a hundred percent time with the kids

until everything gets figured out later

in divorce court the problem is that

there sometimes some parties will abuse

this technique they'll abuse the process

of the restraining order and use it as a

custody play against the other spouse so

for example imagine the situation where

mom and dad get into an argument and

they know divorce is coming they're

living together and they know that soon

they're gonna be living apart and mom

and dad have two children and the

parties can't agree on where the kids

are going to spend the night when the

two parties move into different

households sometimes we say situation

where one of the parties so for example

maybe mom runs to the courthouse and

exagerate s-- the fight creates a

situation of domestic violence that

really didn't happen and is granted a

domestic violence injunction and a

restraining order so that mom as part of

the restraining order because the court

has to fix this emergency situation

gives mom a hundred percent time sharing

with the

now if this happens to you and you're in

the situation where somebody's abuse the

process to get a restraining order

against you and you don't have your kids

the reality is it takes quick work and

it takes a lot of work at the very front

end of your divorce by your lawyers to

unravel the damage that's done and to

make sure that you get to see your kids

again it has happened to you make sure

to talk to a lawyer right away about it

to talk about a plan an expedited plan

to solve the problem

dirty divorce trick number eight

conflicting out attorneys so as

attorneys we have this rule that we are

not allowed to represent two parties who

are adverse to each other so practical

terms in a divorce you can't represent

the husband and represent the wife

because you aren't able to do the best

job you can for both parties at the same

time so sometimes we'll see one of the

parties will run around town and set

appointments with every divorce lawyer

that they can and share and spill the

beans about their case and talk to every

divorce lawyer they can so that the

divorce lawyer is conflicted out from

representing the other spouse and this

is true even if the party who does this

doesn't retain the other or doesn't

retain all the lawyers just the very act

of sitting down in talking to the lawyer

under a lawyer's ethics may preclude

that lawyer from representing the other


divorce dirty trick number nine using

children as leverage for a better

financial deal imagine the situation

where mom and dad have been together for

quite some time they have children


mom's been a stay-at-home mom dad is out

there in the workforce he makes the

money and divorce time comes around and

dad wants to keep as much of his money

as he can maybe even more than what the

law says that he should keep now dad

loves his children but dad hasn't really

bonded with the kids and really he

doesn't want to have a ton of time with

the kids because he's never really had a

ton of time with the kids and conversely

mom is very aligned with the kids she's

very close to them and she wants to have

lots of time fact most of the time with

the kids because that's what she's used

to and most importantly that's what the

kids are used to and mom believes

genuinely that that's how the kids will

thrive the dirty trick that we see all

too much is dad knowing that this is a

trigger point for mom knowing that mom

really wants to have the kid most of the

time dad will say you know what mom I

want 50/50 timeshare or maybe even dad

will say that I want the kids most of

the time in a situation that really the

two parties should be able to get

together and work out early in the

process if they were both focused on

what's best for the children turns into

a litigated matter or what dad's really

trying to do is negotiate in the big

scheme of things he's trying to trade

time with the children in exchange for

more money so what do you do in a

situation like this well the good news

is that there are experts that can be

hired if needed to get into the dynamic

of your particular family and to render

an opinion to the courts that's not

based on dad's wishes or mom's wishes

and it's certainly not based on dad's

desire to try to leverage kids for the

finances but instead it's based on

what's in the best interest of the kids

and two very important factors that the

courts look at when determining what's

in the best interest of the kids is

which parent is going to facilitate a

good relationship with the other pair

and what have the kids been used to

before so can we keep things consistent

for the kids going for

divorce dirty trick number ten parental


sometimes one of the parties can get so

angry at the other party that they want

to hurt the other party that they align

with their children and use their

children almost as a sounding board to

tell their children how bad the other

party is and in its extreme cases this

can be called parental alienation it's a

situation where the children become

strongly aligned with one of the parties

because of the actions taken body by

that party with the children one of the

most important factors in a custody case

if the judges were to have decide where

the children are going to be is which

parent is going to nurture and

facilitate a good relationship with the

children and the other parent and

parental alienation is the exact

opposite of that now what do you do in a

situation where you have a parent that's

alienating the children from the other

parent there aren't any great answers

but the best thing that you can do if it

really seems to be the case of parental

alienation is to get an expert involved

there are child psychologists that are

trained not just in diagnosing parent

parental alienation but also bringing

the issue and testifying in front of the

judge so that the judge understands

what's going on and testifying in front

of the judge to give the judge some

corrective measures that the judge can

take to try to salvage and rehabilitate

the relationship between the alienated

parent and the children

divorce dirty trick number 11 is racking

up credit card debt on another spouses

credit card so in many families we have

joint credit cards where one party is a

primary and the other is a secondary and

unfortunately when the emotions of

divorce get a little bit out of control

we've seen one party take a credit card

and rack up debt on it to try to limit

the ability of the other party to go

ahead and spend the things that they

might need during a divorce process is

there a solution to this yes your

attorney can go in front of a judge and

take care of it if your spouse is acting

crazy and racking up your credit card

debt and when your case is finalized

your attorney can make sure that the

numbers all work out at the end so that

your credit card gets paid and your left

and you leave the divorce on good

financial footing