Divorce Process: No Time to Let Your Guard Down
Dealing with a divorce is often a difficult and emotional experience, but it's no time to let down your guard. A devious spouse can employ various methods to get the upper hand in asset division, child custody, spousal support and other key areas. A misstep during a divorce can have lasting consequences on an individual's finances and, potentially, on a child's future.
No matter how long spouses have been together, it's often virtually impossible to determine how the other individual will behave once the marriage is ending. For example, the advent of a new romantic interest may quickly alter a previous willingness to be responsible and meet obligations.
Misplaced trust can also lull a person into ignoring vital enforcement tools in a marital settlement agreement. Many legal tools are available to a spousal support lawyer or a child support lawyer, including income executions, attorney fee provisions, bonds, liens and the threat of fines.
However unethical or illegal it may be, hiding assets is a common tactic in a divorce. Some are undeterred by the possible legal consequences of signing a false financial statement. Consider the case of a woman who won $1.3 million in a lottery. When she filed for divorce just 11 days later, she did not disclose her winnings. As the Los Angeles Times reported, the omission was discovered, and the judge ultimately awarded the entire $1.3 million to her husband.
Understating assets and overstating liabilities are common tactics that divorce lawyers see time and again. However, as the Wall Street Journal discusses, hiding assets in the digital age is more difficult than it once was. Still, investigators need to know where to look for evidence of hidden assets.
When a marital partner suspects that a spouse has planned for a divorce for some time, it's important to be even more vigilant, especially if that person has a business. Such individuals are often tempted to run up business expenses and reduce profits before the filing. To combat this, it's vital to review business profits over a several-year period.
Combating the hiding of assets is nothing new for an experienced divorce lawyer. It's essential to make sure that all of a spouse’s income and assets are properly reported to maximize child support and spousal support.
False Abuse Claims
Another tactic employed by unscrupulous spouses is the filing of a false abuse claim. Divorcing spouses occasionally use such claims as a weapon to gain an upper hand in divorce and child custody proceedings. Even worse, some make false child abuse claims. When a person even remotely suspects that a spouse might engage in such tactics, preventative measures are recommended. Too often, innocent spouses underestimate the degree to which the ethics of an unfaithful partner can change for the worse.
If a spouse does seek a domestic abuse restraining order, the services of a family law attorney are key. In some jurisdictions, the words “I fear for my safety” carry a lot of weight — too much so when the claims are untrue. Courts often go to extremes in erring on the side of caution when one spouse claims abuse at the hands of the other, especially during the emotionally charged period in and around a divorce.
Once there's a concern a divorce might happen, a child custody lawyer will often recommend a client do everything to avoid marital conflict, both physical and verbal. Sometimes, even the most innocuous encounter is recast into something more sinister. False abuse claims remain a major problem, particularly when the law requires a family law judge to consider domestic abuse allegations against a spouse in custody rulings.
If you are in need of legal assistance at the time of a divorce, please reach out to Edgar Family Law for more information about our legal services. Please contact us to ask your questions or to arrange for a complimentary consultation.