Simply going to court can be a stressful experience, especially if you're going up against an angry spouse. A contested divorce can be an emotional experience, and you may be worried about some dirty tricks that your spouse is going to use. However, you don’t need to worry. Your lawyer will be able to help you, and there isn't a trick in the book that your judge hasn't already seen.
1. Consulting With All the Lawyers in the Area
A pretty well-known divorce trick is to consult with every lawyer in the area and tell them the details of your case because then your spouse can't hire them. It's true that you likely won't be able to hire lawyers that your spouse talked to. However, even if you need to go a little farther away to find a lawyer, you'll ultimately benefit from your spouse’s petty actions. Your spouse will have to have to pay for multiple consultations, and the judge will know exactly what they tried to do.
2. Cleaning Out the Bank Accounts (and Canceling Cards)
Depriving a spouse of money is often considered to be financial abuse, and courts don't look favorably on it. Though a spouse has the legal right to clean out a joint account, they are still going to owe their other spouse a fair amount of money. Long-term, taking all of the money out of a joint account is only going to cause more problems for your spouse, because they are going to be ordered to pay the money back.
Likewise, if your spouse starts running up credit cards, you won’t have to worry about the debt they are accruing. Although you might have to take your spouse to court, you won’t be held responsible for the debt that they accrued while you were going through a divorce.
3. Quitting Their Job
Spouses who are worried about alimony payments — whether they’re trying to get alimony payments or trying to get out of paying alimony — may quit their job thinking that they've found a clever loophole. You definitely don't need to worry about this. The court will make their decision based on the amount of money that your spouse could reasonably make, rather than what they are currently making.
This is also true for child support. The judge will look at your spouse’s earning history, their education, and their experience, and will use all of these things to determine how much income they could potentially make.
4. Manipulating the Children
It's unfortunate but true — spouses can sometimes encourage their children to lie during a divorce, often in efforts to get full custody. Luckily, judges look for evidence to correlate any allegations first, though their primary priority is to protect your children.
If there are any lies being told, it's important to loop in your lawyer as soon as possible, as they will begin finding evidence to support your claims. The more documentation on your side, the better.
5. Stealing Documents or Icing You Out
In order to delay a divorce, a spouse may simply refuse to give over documents, ignore requests, and refuse to respond to calls. This can be frustrating, but it won't work. The courts are eventually going to get frustrated. If you keep showing up to court and your spouse does not, the case will simply go in your favor.
A divorce can seem like an intimidating process, but as long as you do your best to follow your lawyer's advice, you should have a favorable and fair outcome. For more information about the divorce process, contact Paul A. Meding, P.A., Attorney at Law.