I am not a fan of dirty tricks during contested divorce. But pretending they never happen doesn’t do any good, either.
Divorcing men need to understand the full range of tactics some wives use, and they need to be proactive –not reactive –as they work to secure the best possible divorce settlement. To that end, if you are contemplating divorce, you need to know about a tactic I see quite often in financially complex divorce cases…
“Conflicting out” the top divorce lawyers
By “conflicting out” certain attorneys, your wife can make it difficult for you to hire the lawyer that’s best for you.
Here’s how it works:
- She makes appointments with all the top lawyers in your area
- He meets with each one –but only for a short time
- All she needs to do during those meeting is share enough information to create an attorney-client relationship
- Once she does, that particular attorney will be prohibited from representing you
Of course, your wife doesn’t actually have to hire any of these attorneys…
The entire goal with this tactic is to “conflict out” attorneys so they cannot be hired by you.
Celebrities frequently use this strategy. In fact, Heidi Klum made headlines earlier this year for divorce attorney “shopping” in Los Angeles. Of course, Heidi simply may have been interviewing divorce attorneys to find the most qualified and the one she would be most comfortable with – a perfectly legitimate endeavor.
The lesson here is simple: Don’t procrastinate when hiring a divorce attorney. If you do, you could miss out on the opportunity to retain a great lawyer!
What are some other tactics used by wives during a divorce?
Don’t get me wrong. Not all divorces are bitter battles. Some are relatively amicable, and the vast majority are settled outside the courts. However, I’ve seen quite a few underhanded financial and legal tactics employed by wivesor their divorce teams.
Many wives will also:
Stall and delay. By repeatedly rescheduling court hearings and/or filing excessive motions and requests for evidence, a wife can drive up her husband’s legal costs and stretch out the time during which he must cover her living expenses. In these cases, the wife is hoping he’ll get tired of putting out the money and be forced to agree to her settlement offer, which is often extremely favorable to her.
Exert pressure to proceed too quickly. A wife who wants her husband to agree to a “quick” settlement may have something to hide. For instance, very early in the process, the wife’s attorney may send over a divorce settlement proposal for the husband to review and counter. Usually, this means the wife just wants to get the divorce over and done with quickly, and she wants her husband to settle for what appears to be a reasonable offer.
The problem, of course, is that in many cases, he has not received all the discovery documents requested, so he doesn’t have complete knowledge about key financial matters, such as marital assets, income sources, expenses, who they owe and what’s owed them nor will there be information which may lead to establishment of the grounds for divorce asserted against the wife (such as adultery).
In addition, e-discovery (texts, phone records, social media) often becomes extremely important in the case, and it is the wife who usually utilizes these means of communication, probably more so than the husband. Rushing to get a settlement is especially sneaky if the wife has been busy hiding assets and/or income and now she is trying to get him to agree to a 50-50 split of only a portion of their total assets!
Who has not heard the admonition to wives to keep a stash of cash under the mattress, so to speak, for times like these?
Discovery of financial resources. While most married men handle the family finances, that’s not always the case. Some men do not take a hands-on approach to the routine family finances. During a divorce, a wife can use this lack of knowledge to her advantage, especially if he just gives the funds to the wife to handle household bills.
A husband is especially vulnerable if he self-employed or runs a small business because the wife can tie up his cash flow, leaving him helpless to run his business and meet his obligations. These situations can be financially ruinous, and especially so if the husband has transferred significant assets to the wife to protect the assets from any liabilities (such as lawsuits) against his business.
The dirtiest trick of all, accuse the husband of abusing the children. This is the atomic bomb of dirty tricks—accusing the husband of sexually, physically or verbally abusing the children (or a combination thereof). Everything in the divorce action immediately grinds to a halt, and in the case of all but nearly adult children, the wife will usually have the initial custody of them and the husband will be denied any visitation with them.
Under Mississippi Divorce law, the Judge must immediately appoint a guardian ad litem (a guardian during the litigation, usually an attorney certified as such). In effect, a third attorney or guardian has now entered the picture to protect the interests of the children and to investigate the allegations of abuse. Polygraphs of the parents may be ordered and forensic interviews of the children may be had.
This can take months and all during this time the accused husband is denied any contact with his children until the guardian renders his report. Such a tactic puts tremendous pressure on the husband to accede to the demands of the wife and even if the allegations are untrue, the husband may face criminal action. Such allegations must be handled with the utmost care and skill by the husband’s attorney.
These are just some of the tricks and traps that can ensnare a husband during a divorce. There are many more and your attorney must bring to bear the highest and best skills an attorney can muster to counter them and lead the Court to the correct decision.
Such dirty tricks are used whether the divorce is filed in Jackson, Madison, Ridgeland, Brandon, Flowood, Vicksburg, Clinton, Pearl, Richland, Byram, Canton, Yazoo City, Greenwood, Cleveland, West Point, Houston, Starkville, Oxford, Columbus, Amory, Booneville, Corinth, Hollly Springs, Southaven, Hernando, and every other city in Mississippi.
DAVID BUTTS’S YEARS OF LITIGATION EXPERIENCE, especially in dealing with such traps and tricks, can help ensure the best possible outcome for the man of the house, the husband, in the arena of the CONTESTED DIVORCE.