During a divorce in California, there may still be resentment between the spouses. If that’s the case, even in divorce mediation, things can get nasty. You’d be surprised at what lengths people go to just out of spite. So before you partake in any legal actions, it’s best to inform yourself of the trickiest tactics out there.
In this article, we’ll dive deep into some of the nastiest things a person can do during a divorce. Whether it’s child support or financial assets they’re after, you best be prepared. Continue reading to discover the trickiest divorce tactics in California!
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Tricky Divorce Tactics in California You Should Know
The two most common cases to use divorce tactics are for child support and financial assets. That’s why we’ll take the time to elaborate on both of them.
Sneaky tactics used for financial assets
First off, we’ll talk about the sneaky financial tactics. They’re mostly used to deprive the other person of their rightful assets. Knowing how costly a divorce is, it’s important to save all the money you can.
Furthermore, bouncing back financially after the process has ended can be quite troublesome. That’s why you shouldn’t let anyone use dirty tricks to rob you of your personal belongings. The most common sneaky financial tactics to watch out for are:
- Hiding assets
- Attempting to avoid alimony by lying about income
- Wasting shared assets
Hiding financial assets is one of the most common tactics during a divorce in California. As the name implies, this occurs when one of the spouses fails to present all their belongings on paper. So, it’s extremely important to watch out for this during the property division process.
Be aware that the state of California is what’s called a community property state. That means that both spouses have an equal interest in all assets acquired during the marriage. This includes bank and investment accounts, as well as retirement funds, the family home and cars. It doesn’t matter whose name is on the account or title, if it was acquired during the marriage it’s presumed to be community property. The only exceptions are if an asset was a gift or inheritance to just one of you.
If you go to court and a judge rules on how to split your assets in a divorce, you’ll each get 50/50 of community property. So if your spouse hides assets you may not get your fair share in the divorce settlement.
Hiding assets comes with significant penalties and risks. California law requires both parties in a divorce to fully disclose all assets and debts to their spouse. Failure to do so can result in a judge awarding part of all of the undisclosed asset to the other spouse. In one famous case, a woman failed to disclose $1.3 million in lottery winnings, and a judge awarded the full amount to her spouse. So it’s not only in your spouse’s interest for you to disclose all your assets, it’s in your interest. It’s the only way to protect your assets.
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Attempting to avoid alimony by lying about income
Closely related to hiding assets, lying about income is another common tactic. It’s mostly used as a way to avoid alimony, child support, or other expenses.
A typical tactic is creating an inaccurate picture of income and financial circumstances. This includes:
- Accepting cash in hidden ways or cryptocurrency transfers.
- “Forgetting” some sources of income–omitting information on financial disclosure forms is another form of lying.
- Inflating expenses, such as health care costs and living expenses.
- Failing to attach account statements, as required by law, that would verify account balances.
However, be wary that this can go both ways. A party in a divorce can also falsify finances to appear more vulnerable than they are in an attempt to receive spousal support.
As with lying about assets, lying about income is a serious offense. It is considered perjury by the court, which is a felony under California law. You could be subject to fines of up to $10K and prison time of up to four years.
Wasting shared assets
One of the dirtiest tricks in the book is wasting your and your domestic partner’s shared assets. It’s usually done right before the divorce process is finalized.
The most common example is buying overpriced or extravagant items. Furthermore, they may decide to go on an expensive vacation. Some even go as far as to buy luxurious cars and properties straight from your joined bank account.
Like hiding assets and lying about income, wasting shared assets comes with high consequences. After one party files a petition for divorce, they serve a “summons” on their spouse. The summons includes standard “restraining orders” that prohibit either spouse from making material changes to community property. Wasting assets is a violation of these restraining orders and comes with potential restitution orders and contempt of court charges. There is even the potential for criminal prosecution.
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Sneaky tactics used for child custody
Now that we’ve gone over the sneaky financial tactics, let’s look into those regarding child custody. If you’re a parent, of course you wouldn’t want your kids taken away. However, involving them in the divorce conflict can never bring anything good.
Without further stalling, here are the most common sneaky child custody tactics:
- Making false allegations of neglect or abuse
- Turning your children against you
- Requesting more parenting time to reduce child support obligations
Making false allegations of neglect or abuse
If you’re having a fierce battle over child custody, don’t be surprised if false allegations are thrown your way. The most common and heartbreaking ones are those of child abuse and neglect. They’re often a result of a child custody decision not going in favor of the individual making the allegations them.
If you ever find yourself in such a situation, make sure to have a good attorney in San Francisco or wherever you are in California. It’s crucial to portray your side of the story. If, on the other hand, your partner actually is acting abusively, you should immediately seek help and law enforcement or an attorney. You can also contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800.799.SAFE (7233).
Turning your children against you
Turning children against their parents is a devastating low blow. Whether it’s from spite or sheer panic, emotional manipulation is never a good idea. Not only do the children suffer for their parent’s mistakes, but they’re also stuck dealing with emotional trauma. No matter how complicated the divorce process gets, leave your kids out of it.
Some people go as far as to skip town with the children. However, this is a violation of the restraining orders including in the initial divorce paperwork and usually backfires in the final court decision.
Requesting more parenting time to reduce child support obligations
A number of factors go into the calculation of child support. One of these factors is how much time the children spend with each parent.
This can create the opportunity for one parent to try to “trick” the system by requesting more parenting time. Let’s see how this works.
Let’s say the parents agree to the children spending 50% of the time with both parents. If one parent makes significantly more income than the other, she or he will probably have to make child support payments to the other parent. To avoid this, the parent with more income may request the children be with them 60% or 70% of the time.
There are several ways to deal with this problem. First of all, California law generally favors joint custody. So you should insist your spouse provide evidence why she or he should have children for a greater portion of the time.
Second, it’s smart to gather proof of your commitment. You can track the time spent with your children in a journal. Additionally, give a detailed description of how you care for them daily.
Next, try gathering evidence of your partner’s irresponsible behavior. Keep track of missed visitations and signs of unwillingness to spend time with the kids. If you have proof that they just give off the kids to other family members, it’ll surely work in your favor.
How to Protect Yourself Against Sneaky Divorce Tactics
The best way to battle sneaky divorce tactics is to have a strategy for winning in the courtroom. Make sure to keep a clear head and resist the temptation to do the same. Now that you’re informed on the most common ones, you know what to watch out for.
However, if you’re looking for the best way to protect yourself, try divorce mediation. This way, an independent third party will help you settle all issues. It also aids in putting your resentment aside and focusing on the end goal. It’s both time-efficient and cost-effective, without much stress involved.
Furthermore, try proposing divisions your spouse will accept. The best way to do so is by putting resentment aside and being considerate of their situation.
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In conclusion, no matter how devastating the divorce gets, using sneaky divorce tactics will only backfire. If you think your spouse is capable of trying some of these dirty tricks, it’s best to be prepared. Whether it’s child custody they’re after or your finances, you have to stand up for your rights.
We hope this article gives you an insight into how far some people can go. Now that you’re informed, just keep a cool head and stay strong during the ordeal. Lastly, we wish you luck during your divorce proceedings and hope you are able to reach an amicable and speedy agreement!
*This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide legal advice. If you require legal advice, please contact a licensed attorney in your local area.