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Dirty Tricks in Divorce Cases

Lie kids concept.Liar female child hand crossing fingers behind back with father in front. lie and cheating, problem child. April Fools’ Day

Divorces can be emotionally trying and heated affairs. If one spouse feels especially wronged, or if they are simply a selfish or vicious sort of person, they might try any number of tactics to get one over on the other spouse during the proceedings. With the help of a savvy Rancho Cucamonga divorce attorney, you can put a stop to these dirty tricks. Read on to learn about some of the dirty tricks parties pull in divorces and the best way to respond.

Hiding Assets

Hiding marital assets is one of the most commonly employed dirty tricks in divorce, especially for spouses with a high net worth. Parties may set up offshore bank accounts, secretly invest in hard-to-identify companies, maintain real estate without the knowledge of their spouse, or give assets to a friend to hide until after the divorce. If you suspect your ex is hiding assets, hire a forensic accountant to comb through their finances. If your ex lied on their disclosures during the divorce proceeding, not only will those assets be reintroduced for equitable distribution, but your spouse may also face sanctions from the court for their bad behavior.

Threats to Force Custody

Sometimes, the higher-income spouse will try to use threats to coerce the lower-income spouse into surrendering custody. They may offer a more favorable financial settlement, or threaten to drag the case out and refuse fair property distribution or alimony unless the lower-earner gives custody. Openly offering shared custody from the beginning and in settlement negotiations can preempt these sorts of efforts. Additionally, if your ex is clearly trying to blackmail you, you and your attorney can bring the matter to court to put a stop to it.

Falsely Alleging Abuse

Some especially vitriolic spouses will falsely accuse the other party of abuse in order to force them out of the house, gain primary custody, force supervised visitation, and tarnish their reputation. Hiring a forensic psychiatrist to evaluate the family can help to prove or disprove the validity of these allegations; another tack is to get relevant evidence and testimony from family and friends. Another tactic may be to compare the declaration alleging abuse in the Divorce case with the statement to police in the criminal case. Conflicting statements can sometimes be a big help. Talk to your attorney about how to respond to these sorts of allegations. False allegations of abuse are an extremely serious matter.

Stripping the Home, Selling the Car, and Otherwise Getting Rid of Assets

Vindictive spouses who fear losing the house, the car, or other assets may try to sell as much tangible property as they can, often simply to spite their ex. If your ex sells marital assets, you are entitled to your equitable share of the proceeds. If your ex is trying to get rid of your treasured heirlooms, such as old photo albums, simply to be spiteful, you and your attorney may be able to get a restraining order from the court to stop them from doing so.

Spending All the Marital Money

Some divorcing spouses don’t even care about keeping the money for themselves; they just want to keep their ex from getting a penny. They may spend all the money on gifts, vacations, gambling, or rent for friends or paramours, or find any other way to throw money down the drain. They may do so assuming they can make back the money after the divorce is finalized.

When the divorce is filed, the filing party is bound by Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders “ATRO”s. The other party is bound as soon as they are served with the divorce papers. These are automatic binding court orders that prohibit the sale, disposal, hypothecation and destruction of property, and the cancellation of insurance policies.

When your ex tries to waste your jointly-owned money in anticipation of or during the divorce, it is called “waste” or “dissipation of marital assets.” If you and your attorney demonstrate that your ex wasted the money on things that did not serve the marriage–such as purchasing a vacation for an extramarital lover or selling your car on craigslist at a 90 percent discount–then the court can penalize your ex. The court can put a temporary restraining order in place, preventing the parties from doing anything significant to alter their financial status (such as emptying a bank account or selling a house). The court may also count the wasted assets against that party’s share of the marital assets during equitable distribution. For example, if they were entitled to $200,000 of the marital estate but wasted $50,000, the court may redistribute $50,000 to the other party.


The Law Offices of John D. Lueck is a trusted Rancho Cucamonga family law firm with more than 45 years of service to clients in San Bernardino County. If you are considering divorce or if you are dealing with family law issues such as child custody, alimony, or the equitable division of property, contact Rancho Cucamonga divorce lawyer John D. Lueck at 909-484-1963 for a free initial consultation.

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