5 Dirty Divorce Tricks and How to Avoid Them

Will your spouse play dirty? Here are the 5 common dirty divorce tricks and some tips on avoiding them.

False Allegations

False allegations of spousal and child abuse can have tragic consequences on the outcome of a divorce case. No one wants to be denied custody of their children because of some made-up story beefed up by self-inflicted or accidental physical injuries and supported by false witnesses.

The best way to avoid this dirty trick is to have as good a relationship with your children as possible, so that your spouse will not be able to influence them to lie on his or her behalf. Also, appear stable and caring to friends and family, so that they would not even think of supporting your spouse’s false allegations in court.

Hiding Income

Because child support and maintenance depends on income, parties go to a large extent to minimize their own income on the books and make the other party look like the one with a large income.

Many times, this issue can be cleared up through discovery. However, if the other spouse has his or her own business or works for cash, avoiding this dirty trick and proving income can be a tricky business, often involving the assistance of investigators. The most important thing is to find out as much as possible about the income without doing anything illegal, like intercepting private communications.

To avoid claim that you have a high income, keep painstaking records of your income, preferably using the services of an accountant.

Hiding Assets

Just as your spouse can hide income, he or she can hide assets that are acquired during marriage. The best way to avoid this dirty trick is to investigate the extend of your spouse’s assets before the divorce is started.

Wasting Marital Property

Frivolously spending marital money is called “dissipation of marital assets.” Your spouse is wasting marital property if he or she is:

• spending money for purposes that are entirely unrelated to the marriage
• the timing is close to the divorce
• the spending is excessive
• the spouse intended to hide, deplete, or divert an asset

Some common examples of wasting marital property include

• Gifts to the spouse's lover
• Gifts to the spouse’s family members
• Gambling
• Losses in a risky business

The best way to deal with this dirty trick is to transfer half of the marital money into your separate bank account, and to immediately ask the court to direct the spouse to reverse the transaction (if possible), and to ask the court to consider this wasteful dissipation of marital assets during property distribution.

Getting Into Debt

Getting into debt, especially credit card debt, can hurt the finances of both of the spouses. But in the emotional turmoil of divorce, not everyone cares about that. Some spouses even overspend on purpose, to hurt the other spouse.

To prevent this from happening, do not have joint credit card accounts, and check your credit report regularly. Also, check all of your credit card statements regularly and watch the mail for any “surprises.”

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When you are trying to get back at your spouse, posting pictures of drinking or drug use is not a good idea - it can be used as evidence of being an unfit parent.

Albert Gurevich, Esq.