At Bedrock Divorce Advisors, we've seen the full range of underhanded tactics used by disgruntled husbands and/or their divorce teams –and to be honest, it’s not at all pleasant to see adults act so irrationally.
But, please, don’t misunderstand.
I’m not saying that all divorces are bitter battles. In fact, some are relatively amicable, and most are settled in rather straight forward fashion, outside the courts. Still, dirty tricks are much more common than women think, and I always tell my clients it’s best to enter divorce with both eyes open, aware of what some husbands will do to gain an upper hand in the process.
Here’s a small sampling of the most common dirty tricks I see. Your husband may try to:
“Conflict out” all the top divorce lawyers
“Conflicting out” divorce attorneys is becoming more and more popular, especially for those involved in financially complex divorce cases. Why? Because by “conflicting out” certain attorneys, your husband can make it difficult for you to hire the lawyer that’s best for you.
The strategy for conflicting out is simple. Your husband makes appointments with all the top lawyers in your area. Then, he meets with each one –but only for a brief session. All he needs to do during those meeting is share enough information to create an attorney-client relationship. Once he does, that particular attorney will be prohibited from representing you.
Of course, your husband doesn’t actually have to hire any of these attorneys. The entire goal with this tactic is to “conflict out” the best attorneys so you can’t hire them.
The only way to combat this tactic is to hire a divorce attorney as quickly as you possibly can. That doesn’t mean you should rush into a decision. But, it does mean you need to recognize the potential pitfalls of procrastination. If you wait too long to hire an attorney, your options may be limited.
Stall and delay
Some husbands stall and delay, dragging out routine divorce proceeding so they last one or two years --or even longer! By repeatedly rescheduling court hearings and/or filing excessive motions and requests for evidence, your husband can force your legal costs to skyrocket, while extending the time during which you must cover living expenses. What’s the motivation? He’s hoping you'll run out of money and be forced to agree to his settlement offer, which is probably extremely unfavorable to you.
Rush to settlement
While some husbands stall and delay, others do just the opposite --they exert extreme pressure to wrap up the divorce quickly. Why would a husband be in such a rush? Often, it’s because he has something to hide. Here’s how this tactic works: Very early in the process, your husband’s attorney sends over a settlement proposal for you to review and counter. More often than not, this means he wants to get the divorce over and done with quickly, and he wants you to settle for what appears to be a reasonable offer.
The problem, of course, is that since you haven’t had the time to receive (nor comb through) all the discovery documents requested, you don’t have complete knowledge about key financial matters involving your marital assets, income sources, expenses, debts, etc. Plus, rushing to get a settlement is especially sneaky if your husband has been busy hiding assets and/or income, and now he is trying to get you to agree to a 50-50 split of only a portion of your total assets. Don’t make the mistake of agreeing to a settlement based on only partial information!
Deny, deny, deny access to financial resources
If your husband realizes you’re not particularly savvy about the family finances, he can use your lack of knowledge to his advantage. For example, he could make sure he’s the only one who can access family funds. He could cut off your credit cards, move funds from family accounts and even change beneficiaries on his life insurance policies.