If you’re contemplating divorce, you hope that your spouse will play fair during the process. However, even otherwise reasonable people can engage in dirty tricks during their divorce. Some do it out of hurt, anger or spite. Others do it because they hear stories from friends, family and co-workers who feel they got burned during their own divorce. They’re warned that “this is war.”
Whatever the reason, it’s wise to be on the lookout for some potentially brutal divorce moves and be prepared, with the help of your attorney, to try to prevent them. If you can’t do that, there are things you and your lawyer can do to minimize the damage.
Some all-too-common dirty divorce tricks
- Cleaning out the joint bank accounts: As long as both of your names are on them, either of you can make withdrawals or close them. If you’re concerned that this could happen, or it looks like your spouse is already doing it, talk to your attorney. They can help you take legal steps to stop it. They may advise you to put some of your own money in a separate account before you request a divorce.
- Maxing out shared credit cards: This is a similar tactic. Setting up a new household and managing divorce expenses can require some extra credit card use. However, if your spouse is running up your lines of credit with extravagant purchases, you can take steps with the credit card companies to limit your responsibility for this debt. Having at least one card solely in your name can prevent you from being stuck with no credit.
- Seeking primary or sole custody of the children: Sometimes a spouse will do this even when they have no interest or intention of being the kids’ primary caretaker. They may be fine with equal custody. However, by moving to seek greater custody rights, they can frighten their co-parent into giving in on some other matter. Don’t be intimidated by such tactics.
These are just a few ways in which a divorcing spouse can make things difficult for their soon-to-be-ex. Your attorney has likely seen these and many more. They can provide guidance for the best way to respond so that you can move forward with the divorce and your new life as quickly and successfully as possible.