However, the truth is that these dirty divorce techniques rarely benefit the perpetrator and nearly usually result in hostility. Dirty divorce methods can inspire the other side in the same way that the bombing of Pearl Harbor roused a sleeping giant. During your divorce processes, fight the impulse to be vindictive, because you may discover that the joke is on you. Here are some instances of things you should not do:
1. Don’t give him anything.
A female client is considering leaving her husband’s home. It appears that if she tells her husband that she wants to leave, he will stop her. It has to be done behind his back. She is furious with him and wants to get even with him, so when she leaves, she takes everything in the house with her. He has nothing to sit on and nothing to cook with when he goes home. She believes she’s shown him something, but all she’s done is provoke him and throw down the gauntlet for all-out war.
2. Cancel all of your credit cards.
I represented a mother of three whose husband, a doctor, was having an affair with a nurse. Both had engaged lawyers, but my client preferred to wait before suing her husband for infidelity in the hopes of reaching an amicable resolution.
My client had just returned from a lengthy journey with one of her kids and was about to pay for gas when her card was rejected. Her spouse, who earns around $1 million a year, chose to terminate all of her credit cards without warning. To say the least, the good doctor procured an adultery complaint and a temporary hearing in which the judge was apprised of his actions.
3. Obtain his dismissal.
Offended spouses’ eagerness to get their ex fired or in trouble with the IRS or, in one case, the Securities and Exchange Commission never ceases to astonish me. What could they be thinking while they’re simultaneously attempting to get enough money from their spouse to make ends meet? What a case of shooting oneself in the foot!
4. Turning Off the Power.
This is undoubtedly one of the nastier divorce ruses. Many people have called me to say that their phone, power, or cable has been switched off at their home without warning. Such an approach simply leads to a downward spiral of attacks and counterattacks.
5. Inform the Paramour’s Partner.
When an affair is discovered, a common reaction is to phone the paramour’s spouse and tell them everything. As a result, that spouse may launch an alienation of affection lawsuit, putting the marital assets at danger. Clearly, this is an extremely self-destructive decision. (There are situations when sharing this information is beneficial, but this should be done by the lawyer, not the client.)
6. Take the kids out of state.
At the time, such a move seemed like a great way to get even with your spouse. However, some cases show that it can be a good method to get a judge to grant custody to your husband in exchange for your bad behavior. It is considered kidnapping in several places.
7. De-clutter your bank accounts.
While this may bring some temporary relief and security, it may also result in an emergency hearing and the costs associated with it. It may also imbue the perpetrator with an unjust taint that they may never be able to escape. (There are situations when this may be essential, but only with counsel’s guidance and for very good reason.)
8. File a Child Abuse Complaint.
I believe that few people consciously make false complaints of abuse, but it is all too common for people in the throes of divorce to stretch regular events to their advantage. This is something that judges are well aware of. Allow no one to speak to your child if there is a risk of abuse, and bring them to a professional who is trained in interviewing children for abuse. Abuse allegations can be made in both directions, so tread carefully before throwing stones. Allow the experts to handle it.
9. Make your spouse feel humiliated.
Many people wish to teach their spouse a lesson by having summons or subpoenas served on them at work or in other humiliating locations. I’m aware of one situation in which a woman requested that the process server serve her husband immediately before he boarded a plane for an overseas hunting trip. Such gestures may provide gratification, but they can also lead to revenge and escalation of the conflict. Remember that they will one day have the power to embarrass you in the same way they embarrassed you.
10. Just because you can, pull the trigger.
Many times over the course of a divorce, there is an opportunity to file anything, take legal action, or seek a sanction, but the better option is to postpone or avoid taking action. Your husband, for example, is an adulterer. You have concrete evidence. You may believe that because the opportunity presents itself, you must file a lawsuit for adultery. However, history has shown that assessing the circumstance and determining when or if such action is most useful is frequently the best course of action. The mere fear of litigation, for example, may be more persuasive in negotiations than the actual filing of litigation.
All of the preceding rules come with the proviso that no rule should be obeyed if doing so would be risky. You have to do some things from time to time. The key is to seek the advice of skilled counsel and to ensure that your relationship with your counsel is not hostile for the purpose of being contentious.
Rather of focusing your efforts on hurting your ex, be sure that every move you make is actually geared to assist you move closer to a positive solution, not just to grasp a purely temporary advantage or to gratify an unproductive emotion. Let’s keep it that way!
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*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.