Even the most amicable divorce is seldom easy. But when one party decides to use divorce as a way to profit off of their soon-to-be former spouse or chooses to behave vindictively in order to “punish” their partner, it can be brutal.

Over years of practicing family law, our attorneys have seen countless dirty tricks attempted by parties to divorce cases. We say “attempted” because these dirty tricks usually do not work if the other party is represented by a solid legal team that understands how to circumvent the most common sneaky divorce tactics.

In this month’s article, we’ll look at seven sneaky divorce tactics and explain how having solid representation can help you avoid becoming a victim to them.

Sneaky Divorce Tactic #1: Delaying the Divorce

Divorce takes time. A contentious divorce takes even more time. The process is drawn out, expensive, and emotionally draining. Some unscrupulous individuals will use that to their advantage in a divorce – dragging their feet and delaying proceedings as long as they can in hopes that the other party will tire of the process and give into whatever they want.

Delaying tactics can take almost any form: failing to respond to calls or messages, constantly rescheduling or not showing up for appointments, refusing or “forgetting” to sign paperwork, or anything else that forces the proceedings to drag out.

Sneaky Divorce Tactic #2: Hurrying the Divorce

On the other hand, some partners will do everything they can to speed the process along in hopes that the court or their spouse will miss something in the rush. They may be hiding assets, have behaved inappropriately and hope to avoid detection, or have some other fact that they’re trying to keep concealed.

If your spouse seems to be in an unusual rush to get things finished, is easily conceding points that you thought would be contentious, or is hounding you to complete paperwork and schedule proceedings, they may be trying to hide something in the shuffle.

Sneaky Divorce Tactic #3: Refusing to Negotiate

This tactic is closely related to the first one on our list. Divorces that are negotiated between the two parties with disputes resolved through alternative dispute resolution practices like mediation are generally more favorable to both parties than litigated divorces. However, some spouses will refuse negotiation practices and insist on litigating every single detail of the divorce in court.

This tactic is usually an effort to wear down the opposing party and force a favorable settlement or simply to cost them as much money and cause them as much distress as possible.

Sneaky Divorce Tactic #4: Hiding Assets or Income

Hiding assets is the most common sneaky divorce tactic and is still seen despite the fact that it is rarely effective and almost always ends badly for the person attempting it. The offending party can use multiple techniques to try to hide assets to avoid them being distributed in the final settlement. Some of the most common means for hiding assets include:

  • Using a friend or family member’s name to make large purchases
  • Hiding valuables in places like safe deposit boxes, other peoples’ homes, rented storage units, and others
  • Transferring money to a trusted friend or family member for the duration of the proceedings
  • Falsifying disclosures and documents

Because this is such a common trick, good family law attorneys rely on specialized forensic accountants and other investigators to ensure that both parties have a good understanding of the combined estate’s total value, regardless of attempts to hide assets.

Sneaky Divorce Tactic #5: Inflating Debt or Expenses

When it comes time for the court to decide on spousal and/or child support, they will take a look at the paying party’s financial situation. Having heavy existing debts, low income, or larger-than-normal expenses will often lead to a lower settled payment each month. To that end, some individuals will artificially inflate their debt or expenses during the divorce:

  • Financing large purchases early in the divorce to inflate debt
  • Claiming false expenses or claiming expenses that are typically covered by another source; for instance, claiming travel expenses that their employer will reimburse
  • Needlessly incurring expenses on behalf of a friend or family member

These tactics are almost as common as those used to hide assets – and are almost always just as ineffective. Thankfully, few individuals have the experience and know-how to effectively falsify their debt burden in order to save money on support payments.

Sneaky Divorce Tactic #6: Alienating Children Against the Other Parent

Divorce gets considerably more complicated when there are children involved. When it comes to determining child support and custody matters, it is regrettably common to see one parent trying to turn the children against the other parent. Using manipulative techniques and their role as an authority figure, a parent can either directly or very gradually begin to cause the children to have a negative view of the other parent.

This tactic can be devastating if it is successful, but if a parent is caught intentionally trying to alienate their children from the other parent, it can lead to severe outcomes, including complete loss of custody or visitation rights.

Sneaky Divorce Tactic #7: Trying to Damage the Others’ Reputation

Making false allegations of domestic abuse, slandering a spouse amongst a couple’s friends or family, casting aspersions on the other person’s business dealings, the list goes on and on. When it comes to sneaky divorce tactics, this one is right out of the bad ideas handbook. While not uncommon and sometimes regrettably successful, concentrated efforts to damage a soon-to-be-former spouse’s character are a particularly low blow.

If you suddenly find yourself being edged or frozen out by friends, family members, employers, or others who were previously close to you, you may want to ask why. If it turns out that your spouse is waging a smear campaign against you during your divorce, your legal team can help stop the rumor-mongering and restore your good name.


Effective Divorce Tactic #1: Get a Good Lawyer

Hopefully, your divorce is a calm, negotiated settlement that both parties can walk away from amicably and move on with their lives. In that case, your lawyer can help you negotiate more effectively, navigate the procedural parts of getting a divorce, and be a watchful third party protecting your interests. If it gets nasty, though, your legal team will be on hand to fight back

Through forensic accounting, investigation of claims and allegations, and a vigilant eye on the activities of your spouse, your legal team can help you avoid the impact of sneaky divorce tactics and ensure that both parties’ rights are being protected and that the court has an accurate picture of the whole situation before making their decisions.

When a Divorce Gets Ugly, We Can Help: Call EMC Family Law Today!

If you are getting a divorce, choose a legal team that understands how to negotiate an amicable divorce or defend your rights in a litigious one. Give us a call and let us guide you through your next steps: 770-225-7000

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