Don’t Get Duped – Beat Underhanded Divorce Tactics
Underhanded Divorce Tactic #1
One of the most popular deceptive divorce strategies is to conceal assets to protect them from being shared in a separation agreement. They may accomplish this by hiding funds in the accounts of friends or family members, opening a secret bank account, or maintaining assets solely in their name.
And we’re not just referring to offshore bank accounts in the Cayman Islands. Instead, we’re referring to accounts they have constant access to, such as a PayPal account, a business account, or an online brokerage account. Receiving payments into these accounts rather than a joint bank account is an attempt to keep the money off your radar.
Concealed Assets Counter-Strategy
Divorce is a stressful process that can be even more complicated when one spouse attempts to hide assets. When this happens, it can be challenging to track down all marital property and ensure each party receives what they are entitled to under the law. Therefore, identifying and locating hidden assets during a divorce is essential for ensuring an equitable settlement.
The first step in overcoming the issue of hidden assets is to start gathering financial documents as soon as possible. This includes tax returns, bank account statements, investment portfolios, employment records, and any other financial-related document that may exist. Going through these documents line-by-line can help uncover any suspicious activity or patterns pointing toward hidden assets.
Community Property vs. Equitable Division
All “the stuff” obtained during the marriage are marital property and susceptible to distribution, regardless of whether you live in a community property or equitable division state.
Assets and earnings obtained during the marriage are shared equitably (fairly), but not necessarily equally, in an equitable division state, in an Equitable Property Distribution state like Florida. Therefore, to level the playing field and make the settlement fair to both spouses, the judge may require one spouse to use separate property.
All assets earned during the marriage are automatically shared 50/50 in one of the nine community property states, such as California or Texas. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule. For example, if one spouse possessed an asset before the marriage, they will likely be permitted to keep it in the event of a divorce. Furthermore, gifts or inheritances received by one spouse may be exempt from division.
If your spouse has been hiding money in their Venmo account, they are effectively stealing a portion of your fair share.
Community Property vs. Equitable Distribution
If you suspect your spouse is concealing money or assets, the first step is to obtain a thorough list of all accounts. In discovery, your lawyer can also compel this. Everything from checking and savings accounts to investment and retirement accounts should be included.
And, to be honest, the ideal time to receive this list is before the divorce process begins; even if you intend to divorce with no money, read how to plan to leave your spouse for specifics.
Scrutinize the list of accounts after you get it. Look for any unusual withdrawals, transfers, or significant payments. Then, during the divorce process, keep a close eye on these accounts. If you see any unusual activity, notify your lawyer right away.
Underhanded Divorce Tactic #2
Manipulation of Income
If your spouse is self-employed, they may be able to deploy a few more devious divorce strategies. For example, they may manipulate their income to appear to earn less money than they actually earn. They could accomplish this by delaying charging clients, cashing cheques rather than depositing them, or omitting to report all income on their tax return. In addition, they may be getting payments into a separate bank account you are unaware of. Your lawyer can also demand records from your spouse’s business to clarify how much they make.
In rare situations, a spouse may even quit their work or take a lower-paid job to appear incapable of paying alimony or child support. This is known as voluntary underemployment and is not seen favorably by the courts.
This is also a warning flag if your spouse has a history of underreporting income on their taxes.
Income Manipulation Counter Strategy
Having as much data as possible to demonstrate your spouse’s actual earnings is critical. For example, tax returns, W-2s, 1099s, pay stubs, bank statements, and information from your spouse’s business may be included.
Your lawyer can obtain these and demand information about your spouse’s employment, pay, and bonuses from their employer.
The simplest method to keep track of it is to monitor cash flow. If revenue that has been consistently appearing vanishes, it is a clue that something is wrong.
Underhanded Divorce Tactic #3
Making False Allegations
False charges are another popular devious divorce ploy used by spouses during a divorce settlement. To get an edge, your almost-ex-spouse may try to make claims of drug misuse, physical abuse, or infidelity. These claims can potentially be highly destructive, emotionally and financially. Therefore, if your spouse makes false accusations against you, you must be prepared to refute them.
False Allegations Counter-Strategy
If your soon-to-be ex-spouse makes false claims against you, you should first consult with an attorney. The other spouse has given up on good faith bargaining and is seeking to win the divorce case by increasing legal fees by forcing you to defend against bogus claims.
You will need to collaborate with a lawyer to offer proof to counter the lies. For example, if your spouse accuses you of drug abuse, you should provide evidence from a doctor or counselor proving that you are not misusing drugs.
It is also critical to avoid replying to false allegations without losing your calm. It’s difficult because this is one of the most insidious divorce strategies, but an outburst just gives your spouse more ammunition to use against you.
Underhanded Divorce Tactic #4
Using Children As Leverage
Your spouse may use the children in the divorce to achieve what they want. For example, if you do not agree to the divorce agreement terms, your spouse may threaten to withhold visitation. Alternatively, your spouse may portray you as the terrible mommy and attempt to turn the children against you in custody proceedings. Or they may simply manipulate your children as a kind of retaliation, which many believe is tantamount to child abuse.
This is a particularly destructive, deceptive divorce approach because it can have long-term consequences for the children. If your soon-to-be former spouse inappropriately involves the kids in your divorce, take steps to shield them from emotional manipulation.
Using Children As Leverage Counter-Strategy
Take the high road and document everything your spouse does and says to the kids, whether you hear it personally or through your children. If necessary, this journal can be used as evidence in court, but it must be discussed with your family law attorney. This will assist you in demonstrating a pattern of behavior to the court.
You should also take precautions to safeguard your relationship with your children and avoid disparaging your spouse in front of them. If necessary, seek counseling for yourself and your children to help deal with the emotional aftermath of this technique.
Work with an experienced divorce attorney to create a sound parenting plan the court will authorize.
Underhanded Divorce Tactic #5
Refusing To Pay Child Or Spousal Support
Child support is financial assistance paid by one parent to the other for the care of the children. Alimony, often known as spousal support, is financial support paid by one spouse to the other following a divorce.
This is one of the most typical deceptive divorce methods in my experience. It might be framed as an inability to pay, payment delay, or reluctance to pay, but the bottom line is that your spouse is trying to evade their financial duties.
Refusing to Pay Support Counter Strategy
If your ex-spouse refuses to pay child or spousal support, you must return them to court. The court can find them in contempt and sentence them to a fine or even jail time.
Furthermore, the court can order their employer to deduct money from their paycheck to pay for child or spousal support. Therefore, wage garnishment is a very efficient approach to ensure you receive the support payments to which you are entitled.
You can also seek the court to require your ex-spouse to pay back child support or spousal support if you are owed money. In rare situations, the court may even order your spouse to pay interest on the arrears.
But, the challenge here is that you must return to court, which is what they are relying on. They hope you won’t take them to court again since it requires time, money, and energy, all of which you might not have. So, prepare for this ahead of time, and have a strategy to respond quickly if this nasty divorce ploy is used against you.
Underhanded Divorce Tactic #6
Creating Unnecessary Delays
Another common approach employed by divorcing couples is to postpone and delay the procedures. Your spouse could do this to try to wear you down emotionally or financially. It’s a prevalent bargaining strategy in business!
Your spouse may also attempt to delay the proceedings to buy time to conceal assets. For instance, your spouse may transfer the property title to a friend or cousin to keep it out of the divorce arrangement.
Creating Unnecessary Delays Counter Tactic
If your spouse is utilizing stall and delay tactics, it is critical to remain patient, stay focused on the divorce goal, and have skilled counsel. Set up procedures to preserve precise records of all correspondence with your spouse and monitor money transactions. This relieves you of part of the burden, and the records can be used as evidence in court if necessary.
When someone employs this strategy in business, one alternative is to work around them. Allow your attorney to collaborate with their attorney. If your lawyer is going quickly and has their act together, the court will notice that the other side is stalling. This is against the law in the land of due process.
Underhanded Divorce Tactic #7
Rushing To Reach An Agreement
The fake rush is the inverse of the delay tactic. This is something that salespeople frequently utilize. They HAVE to finish it soon… for some fictitious reason. They’re attempting to create pressure and agitate you so that you accept quickly and don’t scrutinize the specifics of a settlement too deeply, especially if you don’t have a lawyer on your side.
As an example, a couple splits. The father starts the process by offering the mother a settlement that was pennies on the dollar, expecting them to roll over and yell ENOUGH.”
Rushing To Reach An Agreement Counter Strategy
Keep in mind that you are in charge of the time.
If your spouse serves you with a divorce petition and a settlement proposal within the same week, “I will discuss this with my lawyer” is a powerful reaction. But you don’t have to leap just because they are leaving you said “Boo!”; even if you don’t have a lawyer or your attorney is on legal aid.
Underhanded Divorce Tactic #8
Deny Access To Shared Assets And Resources
Denying access to information or resources is a typical practice adopted by spouses during divorce. Your spouse may attempt to do this to prevent you from obtaining the facts you require to negotiate a fair divorce settlement. Furthermore, your spouse may try to prevent you from accessing critical financial records or other resources.
This information might come from joint bank account statements, tax returns, credit card statements, or mortgage documents.
Denying Access To Assets & Resources Counter-Tactic
You must acquire court records if your spouse denies you access to information or resources. This is MUCH easier if you have a list of everything you need. Discover how to prepare for divorce.
Underhanded Divorce Tactic #9
Falsifying Documents or Information
All divorce attorneys have witnessed falsified signatures on legal documents in person at one time or another. It’s shady, it’s illegal, and it happens.
Your spouse may mislead the court to obtain an edge in divorce. For example, your spouse may misrepresent their salary to get a lesser child support payment. Furthermore, your spouse may attempt to conceal marital property, shared assets, or drug and alcohol misuse.
Falsifying Documents or Information Counter Strategy
If you suspect your spouse is falsifying paperwork or submitting misleading information to the court, you should ask the court for copies of all relevant documents. You can also consider hiring a private investigator to examine your spouse’s actions.
Underhanded Divorce Tactic #10
Child Custody Sabotage
Child custody manipulation is a common method used in divorce proceedings. For example, your spouse may attempt to win primary custody of the children to obtain child support, avoid paying child support or make it more difficult for you to relocate. In addition, your spouse may attempt to use the children as a negotiating chip in the divorce proceedings.
One particularly nefarious tactic is to seek primary custody and shift parenting time to grandma or another family member.
Child Custody Sabotage Counter Strategy
If your spouse uses child custody as a weapon, it’s time to wear your boxing gloves. Work with a lawyer to prevent losing primary custody in the first place and to create a detailed parenting plan outlining your rights and obligations. You should also be prepared to offer court evidence, including character witnesses, documentation of your parenting time, and proof of your financial stability.
Underhanded Divorce Tactic #11
Removing Marital Property Before Divorce
Your spouse may attempt to remove marital property from the home before the divorce is finalized. This strategy is frequently used to keep you from receiving your fair share of assets. What exactly is marital property? Any property gained during the marriage is considered marital property. Homes, vehicles, furniture, art, and jewelry are examples of such items. It may also contain financial accounts such as savings, investment, and retirement accounts.
Removing Marital Property Counter Strategy
Again, avoiding this one in advance is much easier.
If your spouse attempts to remove marital property from the home to avoid sharing it in the divorce, begin compiling an inventory, including missing things. Take photos or videos of the property and gather documents such as receipts, bank statements, and appraisals.
Bottom line: Hire an experienced divorce attorney or seek legal aid.
Hiring a qualified attorney from a family law practice or legal aid organization who knows how to safeguard your rights is the best way to defend against these and other devious divorce methods. Because they’ve seen all of these shenanigans before and know exactly what you’re entitled to. A qualified divorce lawyer can also assist you in gathering evidence to support your case and, if necessary, represent you in court.