Divorce is difficult for all parties involved. The goal is to get through it as quickly and easily as possible. However, in nearly every divorce, at least one person starts acting petty or making the situation harder than it has to be.
Here are some of the most common nasty divorce tactics you should look out for.
1. Taking Money Out of Joint Accounts
One of the first things some people do is take as much money as possible from joint accounts. They don’t want the other spouse to get ahold of the money, even if it needs to be used for things like paying a mortgage and utilities.
This money does not belong to one person or the other. Joint accounts are owned by both spouses together.
It’s important to get a temporary order in place restricting the use of joint accounts to what is absolutely necessary so your soon-to-be-ex doesn’t drain your accounts. If they do, make sure you track how much money they take and report the situation to the divorce court.
2. Hiding Assets
Another financial tactic that spouses often use is hiding assets and not reporting them to the divorce court. In a divorce, all assets are required to be reported, and anything acquired during the marriage must be split equitably and fairly.
A spouse may take things like vintage cars, art, or collectibles and hide them from the spouse, failing to report them to the court. If your spouse tries to do this, make sure you report it to the judge, and they may be held in contempt for failing to report all their assets properly.
3. Canceling Credit Cards
If you and your spouse are both jointly named on a credit card, they may cancel it in an attempt to prevent you from accessing any funds. This tactic is often used to manipulate the divorce. These tactics are financially abusive and should be reported.
4. Taking Furniture Without an Agreement
If your spouse moves out and brings a moving truck to take what they consider to be “their furniture,” you should report it to the judge as well. Everything acquired during the marriage, including furniture, belongs to both of you. It should be split equitably and fairly. If you don’t agree with something they take, it is up to the divorce court to determine an equitable and fair split.
5. Changing Locks on the House
If the home was acquired during the marriage or both spouses are on the deed, it belongs to both parties. One spouse cannot change the locks without a court order.
If you fear for your life and want to prevent your spouse from returning to your home, you should get a temporary or permanent restraining order. Call the police and work with an attorney to ensure your spouse cannot come close to you. This is a better option to ensure they do not return to your home.
6. Purposefully Embarrassing Your Ex
A common dirty tactic used by spouses is to tell secrets about them or discuss their past to embarrass them. The spouse engaging in this type of behavior often tries to get people “on their side.” They may also manipulate the other spouse into agreeing with divorce terms that are not in their best interest.
If a spouse is telling lies about you or purposefully trying to embarrass you, you can ask the divorce court to make an order for them to stop talking to others about you. Although they have a constitutional right to freedom of speech, it is illegal to spread false information or verbally and emotionally abuse you.
7. Airing Dirty Laundry About the Relationship
No relationship is perfect, especially if you are going through a divorce. It is common for a spouse to tell friends and family what caused the breakup or things they feel the other spouse has done wrong. This is often done in an attempt to look like they have done nothing wrong, placing blame on the other spouse entirely.
The court may issue an order that both parties refrain from discussing one another on social media. They may also hold a spouse accountable for spreading false information or verbal and emotional abuse.
8. Using the Kids Against Each Other
Divorce is particularly difficult when children are involved. The kids often feel stuck between their parents, being forced to choose sides.
When one parent bad-mouths the other parent or takes any action that could interfere with the relationship between the children and the other parent, they can be held accountable. The court will consider actions such as this when making decisions about child custody and visitation.
9. Quitting a Job to Prevent Alimony or Child Support
In most cases, alimony and child support are based on the wages of the higher-earning parent who does not have custody of the children. If that spouse quits their job or fails to report all of their income in an attempt to reduce spousal support and child support, they may be held accountable.
The court may choose to impose an income on the spouse according to what they potentially could make as opposed to what they are actually making at a lower-paying job. The court may also order a spouse to obtain a job to pay alimony and child support.
10. Using the Legal System to Drag Things Out
It’s common for a spouse with more money to drag out the court process so that the other spouse no longer has money for an attorney. This is considered using the legal system to bankrupt the other spouse.
Failing to make a reasonable agreement or using the legal system to harm another person is viewed negatively by the divorce court. The judge may even order the offending party to pay for the other spouse’s legal fees.
Protect Yourself from Nasty Divorce Tactics
The best way to protect yourself from a nasty divorce is to be prepared with a divorce attorney who can protect your rights. A skilled divorce lawyer will be on the lookout and help you manage the situation if your spouse does try these tactics.
At Erb Legal, we can help you understand your rights and ensure that you are not taken advantage of.
Call Erb Legal today at 330-249-1778 or use our contact form to reach out.