The top five dirty divorce tricks

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 The top five dirty divorce tricks

Divorce can be coupled with anger, jealousy and other deep emotional triggers.  These triggers can result in revengeful gamesmanship or greed.  Some spouses will use every trick in the book to win at all costs.


1.  Conflicting out top attorneys:

It is important to hire a top attorney to help navigate a divorce.  This dirty divorce trick involves meeting with all of the top divorce attorneys in your community.   During the meeting, the sneaky spouse reveals confidential information regarding their divorce and seeks legal advice from the top attorney.  The confidential consultation can prevent your spouse from hiring the top attorney because of a conflict of interest.  Your spouse is then forced to hire a less experienced attorney.

2.  Hiding assets:

It is hard to divide an asset if you do not know about it.  This dirty divorce trick can take on many forms such as:

  • Discovery abuse: Some attorneys fail to conduct discovery to save resources and if a spouse is trying to hide an asset, it is easier if they are never asked about the asset.  Other discovery abuses include delaying in answering questions or providing complicated and extensive discovery in an effort to drive up the cost of divorce and forcing settlement.
  • Undervaluing property or a business: There are many ways to value real estate or a business.  Of all of the valuation methods, the one method least likely to provide an accurate value is a value provided by a spouse or family member.  A common dirty divorce trick is to undervalue an asset so that there is less to divide.
  • Cash is king: Bank accounts, brokerage accounts, retirement accounts and most property leave a paper trail.  Cash seldom does.  This dirty divorce trick involves maintaining a cash position then representing that the cash is spent or never existed.  After all ½ of nothing is nothing.
  • Offshore bank accounts: An offshore bank account can is very similar to cash.  This dirty divorce trick is designed to move assets offshore so that there is no paper trail allowing a dishonest spouse to cover up his/her tracks.
  • Creative wages: It is not uncommon for an employer to agree to defer a bonus or other compensation until after a divorce is final.  This dirty divorce trick can prevent a spouse from sharing in the compensation or bonus and can even result in a lower child support or alimony award.

 3.  Financial Abuse:

Divorce can be expensive.  This dirty divorce trick involves making the divorce more expensive.  The dishonest spouse will fail to pay bills on time, cancel credit cards, insurance and otherwise make an honest spouse’s financial life a nightmare.  The goal of this dirty divorce trick is to financially starve a spouse to force settlement with less than favorable terms.

4.  Expose your spouse:

It is not uncommon for one spouse to have less than flattering information about another spouse.  Maybe an illicit affair or other nefarious activities.  This dirty divorce trick involves leveraging the threat of exposure to compel a settlement. 

5.  Custody Tricks:

It is not uncommon for a parent to fight for custody at all costs.  Custody dirty divorce tricks include:

  • Coaching Kids to lie or testify in one parents favor.
  • Preventing a spouse from seeing a child then using the fact that a parent has not seen the child against them.
  • Making false accusations of child abuse or domestic violence to seek sympathy from the court.

Dirty divorce tricks can backfire causing great hardship including the loss of an asset, custody or jail in extreme circumstances.  While it is important to understand dirty divorce tricks, it is equally important not to consider using any of them without first seeking legal counsel.  Caveat, in Latin means be aware and that is sound legal advice.

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Change is rarely easy, sometimes complicated and often emotional.   Let a Michigan divorce attorney experienced in family law help you.  We utilize a team approach to focus on solutions by applying Michigan law properly.  We specialize in helping you focus on your goals, protect your property interests, manage your custody and support interest, and keep you happy in life’s most difficult circumstances.

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I have been exclusively practicing divorce and family law in Michigan for over two decades.  The attorneys at Findling Law all share the core value of practicing law to help people navigate change in their lives, without compromising principles.  We specialize in high socio-economic, high-profile and high-conflict cases, while also working with clients of all backgrounds. We recognize that the most important aspect of the practice of law is the application of the law to your specific circumstances.

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By:  Daniel Findling

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