"The entire exercise of divorce is based on knowledge. If you know what can go wrong, you are in a better position to help yourself."
Divorce is nearly always an emotional issue. It can be seriously traumatic. Making a bad situation worse is never recommended. Don't be sneaky and mean towards your soon-to-be ex-spouse. But be aware of the games people play. Sadly it is sometimes a war and the other side is out to win. You are facing your spouse, possibly their family and friends and almost certainly your spouse's lawyer. Lawyers are definitely out to win. It's good for their bottom line. Winning lawyers get hired before losing lawyers. If they tread on toes, tough, that's the way it goes. Be aware.
Dirty Trick #1
SOS or Starve Your Spouse. If one partner is the major or sole breadwinner, he or she may chose to follow the rules to the letter of the law. They delay for as long as possible paying bills or what is required to be paid to the no-income spouse. Divorce laws vary and in some cases you may be allowed to miss the payment by as much as 30 days without action being taken against you. If you're the spouse without the cash, the pressure is really on. How can you pay the bills or feed the kids? Under this type of strain your health can suffer and you may be forced to accept a less-advantageous divorce settlement just to get out of the mess. Be aware.
Dirty Trick #2
Some spouses will deliberately use a credit card for their own means knowing their spouse will have to pick up the tab. If the credit card is a joint card but one partner is the person responsible for payments, using the card to buy goods for your new single life without the knowledge or approval of other spouse is not a clever idea. Be aware.
Dirty Trick #3
The silent treatment; one spouse takes a vow of silence towards the other. This adds even more pressure to the situation especially if children are involved. If you are unable to speak directly to your partner, do so through an intermediary. Lawyers or an independent person, a third party, can be used. The silent treatment is used to rack up the pressure on your health and lifestyle. Be aware.
Dirty Trick #4
Attack a joint bank account. Joint means both and if one partner removes most or all of the cash without telling their partner, all sorts of problems can arise. The ignorant spouse could write a check or checks and, without money in the account, the checks will bounce. This causes embarrassment to the person trying to pay by check and may damage their business reputation. Don't leave yourself open to this petty and vindictive behavior. Be aware.
Dirty Trick #5
Some spouses put undue pressure on their partner by making a claim to be the primary carer of the children knowing that this is not their intention. The other partner then worries they may lose control of the kids and be relegated to being a part-time parent. This is a mean trick aimed to add pressure which may cause the partner who thinks they could lose the kids to panic. To save the situation, the suffering partner may give ground on other matters thinking they could lose the children. It's a quintessential dirty trick. Be aware.
Dirty Trick #6
Tell lies. Make a claim that your spouse is abusive or violent or behaves in an illegal or threatening way. Truth is often the first casualty in war and 'the end justifies the means' is often the mantra of an aggrieved spouse. Be prepared to face the fact that some people play dirty. Be aware.
Dirty Trick #7
You ain't the Dad. The father in the divorce is told that he is not the father of child X. Like all things this needs to be proved of course so do not take the word of your partner alone. But understand that if it is true, the issue of custody just gets a whole lot more complicated. You could be fighting for the right to see and care for the child who in fact is not yours. Be aware.
Dirty Trick #8
Don't allow what seem like genuine words to get you to do something which actually works against you. Let's say your spouse expresses their love for you but reckons a trial separation could be good for the marriage. And that may be the case. But it could also be a ruse to get you out of the house. You leave by mutual consent and then a few months down the track your spouse applies for a divorce and seeks custody of the children claiming you walked out on your family. Be aware.
Dirty Trick #9
Verbal agreements are useless. It's what's written that counts. You may sign a handing over custody screed when your spouse says, "I'll let you see the kids whenever you like". A few months down the track you find you are denied access. You complain claiming that your partner said such and such. They may well have said exactly that but it's what is written that counts. Be aware.
Dirty Trick #10
Get rid of the kids. No, not literally but in the sense that the divorce is between you and your spouse. Using the kids as bargaining chips or cannon fodder is terrible for the kids and bad for you. If your partner tries using your children to extract a better deal, walk away from that line of arguing. The children should never be used as pawns in the game of divorce. Be aware.
The entire exercise of divorce is based on knowledge. Knowledge is power. If you know what can go wrong you are in a better position to help yourself. If you aware of the dirty tricks, you can avoid being set up and taken advantage of.
Remember that your lawyer should be on your side. He or she is supposed to be looking after your interests. In most cases they may well be doing just that. But never drop your guard. Question your attorney. Don't hesitate to ask why things are happening or not happening. Ask about the consequences if you do so and so.
Finally, the best way to avoid dirty tricks is to be aware. Don't assume your lawyer or the judge will solve your problem. They may be sympathetic and helpful but do not assume all will be well. Don't bury your head in the sand but try to stay calm and be aware.
There's an excellent ebook on how to help save your marriage and Stop Your Divorce. Read it before it's too late.
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