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7 Sneaky Divorce Tactics You Didn’t See Coming

sneaky divorce tactics

There’s a thin line between love and hate.

Unfortunately, that saying has never been more true than during a divorce.

The end of a marriage can mean the birth of charged emotions and egotistical behavior, leading partners to act out, retaliate and play dirty. The reality is that divorce can affect your finances, family dynamic, and mental and emotional well-being. And although you may not want to believe your spouse is capable of these things, you must be vigilant to protect yourself and your family.

Watch out for these seven sneaky divorce tactics you might not see coming.

1. Intentionally delaying divorce

“Stall and delay” divorce tactics draw out the process as long as possible. Your ex’s hope is either to buy more time to achieve wins, or that you’ll avoid the legal costs and give in to whatever their offering. Stalling tactics include dragging their feet when signing paperwork, declining every offer of negotiation, or taking every little thing back to court.

You should talk to a divorce lawyer if you’re dealing with delay tactics and can’t seem to get anywhere.

2. Pushing for a quick settlement

On the other hand, another sneaky divorce tactic is to try to rush things along. This tactic is often used when the pushy party has something they want to keep out of the proceedings – like hidden income or assets. They also may just want to get the best agreement possible for themselves by fabricating a supposed time constraint or rushing to cause confusion.

Always have a divorce attorney look at any paperwork before signing so that you’re treated as fairly as possible.

3. Hiding, spending, or lying about income and assets

Particularly in no-fault divorce states like Florida, wealth and assets gained throughout the marriage are normally split evenly during a divorce. This leads to some shady practices that aim to keep assets and money hidden.

Common tactics include:

  • Transferring money or assets to a family member’s name
  • Hiding valuable possessions in undisclosed locations (like safety deposit boxes)
  • Inaccurately reporting income or holdings
  • Making large purchases in someone else’s name
  • Claiming false expenses or debts

It can often be difficult to determine if income or assets are being hidden from you during the separation period. A divorce attorney can help you by investigating your ex’s financial situation and looking for suspicious spending activity.

4. Requesting more visitation to lower child support

When children are involved in divorce proceedings, timesharing and custody negotiations are often clouded by the child support orders will surely follow. In some cases, parents will request more time with their children in order to lessen the amount of their child support payments. A common result is that kids are handed off to family members during the other parent’s “days” instead of the children actually spending more time with their parents.

Make sure your family law attorney is aware of your concerns so that they can exhaust all possibilities in the interest of your children.

5. Making false allegations

When one spouse doesn’t get the custody ruling they want, or they suspect that custody hearings will not go their way, a devastating and (sadly) common tactic is to make false allegations. The goal is to smear the other parent’s character in the eyes of the court in order to gain full custody or limit the other parent’s visitation rights.

Common examples of allegations that could lead to loss of custody or visitation are:

  • Child neglect or abuse
  • Domestic violence
  • Criminal behavior
  • Alcohol or drug addiction
  • Failure to follow court orders for custody arrangement

When false allegations are made against you, it’s crucial to be open and honest with your attorney about the situation so that they can guide and represent you appropriately.

6. Resisting communication or negotiations

Refusing to negotiate – or even communicate – can really stall divorce hearings and cause a mountain of frustration. This tactic has a similar aim as those that delay or rush along the process: Wearing you down.

Drawing out the process is a costly game, and your attorney can implement legal methods of documenting your ex’s failure to communicate and moving proceedings along in your favor. Once the other party realizes what they’ll lose by refusing to communicate, they’ll usually start to cooperate.

7. Alienating kids from the other spouse

One of the most hurtful and damaging tactics in divorce cases is to either turn children against the other spouse or to slowly reduce the amount of time they spend with their kids. The goal of this tactic is two-fold:

  1. To show the court that they invest more time in their children than the other parent, making them the best choice for primary custody.
  2. To manipulate older children into choosing to be placed primarily with them instead of the other parent.

Your Miami divorce lawyer can advocate for you in a situation where your children are being kept from you. They may even be able to turn the tables and shine a less-than-flattering light on the offending spouse in the eyes of the court.

Brutal divorce tactics that are tempting (but can backfire)

There are some dirty tactics you might be thinking about employing yourself, especially if your ex is already playing dirty. However, these common and brutal tactics could lead to retaliation from the other party or sanctions from the court, resulting in an all-out court battle that may be difficult to win. Additionally, some conduct could have legal implications or reflect poorly on you in court proceedings.

Avoid these vicious divorce tactics that could easily backfire:

  • Serving divorce papers with the goal of embarrassment
  • Cancelling credit cards
  • Cleaning out the house or bank accounts
  • Leaving town with the children
  • Jeopardizing the ex’s job

Dirty Divorce Tactics FAQs

What can be used against you in a divorce?

Expect that a disgruntled ex may use any tactic against you in divorce court. Here are some things that can really damage your case in front of the judge:

  • Extravagant spending during separation periods
  • Lying about income and assets
  • Restraining orders
  • Social media activity
  • Incriminating information in texts, emails, and other written communication
  • Romantic relationships that impact children negatively

How do you play dirty in a divorce?

When your ex starts playing dirty in divorce court with sneaky tactics, it’s tempting to retaliate with your own dirty tricks. However, it’s important to have the help of an experienced attorney working on your side. They’ll help you navigate a messy divorce with legal methods that will both protect you and help you win what you deserve.

The bottom line in sneaky divorce tactics

Divorce is a messy affair. But stressful proceedings can often be mitigated by employing the services of a divorce attorney to help you navigate the ins and outs of family law, combat sneaky divorce tactics, and ensure your rights are protected.

Author Bio

Vanessa Vasquez de Lara is the founder and owner of Vasquez de Lara Law Group, a Miami family law firm. With over 20 years of experience in family law, she has zealously represented clients in various legal matters, including divorces, child support, child custody, alimony, and other family law cases.

Vanessa received her Juris Doctor from the University of Miami School of Law in 2002 and is a member of the Florida Bar Association. She has received numerous accolades for her work, including being named to the 2015 Super Lawyers Rising Stars and the 2016-2023 Super Lawyers list.

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