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Things to Watch Out for in a Divorce

By Beverly Price April 02, 2023 Family

Divorce can be a traumatic experience for both parties involved. Not only does it entail the end of a relationship, but it also requires dividing assets and agreeing on living arrangements, among other things.

8 Common Dirty Tricks During Divorce

Unfortunately, some spouses use dirty tricks during a divorce to gain an advantage. If you’re going through a divorce, here are some common tricks to watch out for and how to avoid them.

Hiding Money

Everyone worries that their spouse is hiding money. The best way to avoid this dirty trick is to hire a forensic accountant to analyze your financial records and look for evidence of missing money. If you find evidence, bring it up in a joint collaborative session so you can resolve the issue.

Spying on You

There are several ways a spouse can spy on you. They can hack your computer or smartphone, hire a private detective, or install a “keystroke program” on your computer. There are two ways to thwart this tactic. Never put anything compromising on your computer and have your equipment checked by a technician.

Limiting Access to Money

Another favorite dirty trick is to drain the joint bank accounts and place common funds in a separate account. Many jurisdictions have standing orders limiting behavior. To avoid the problems, withdraw half the common funds and place the money in a separate account.

Stripping the House

Some spouses move everything out of the house before they file for divorce. This may feel really good, but will make your spouse angry and set up a reimbursement claim for the personal property you took. You will end up with stuff you don’t want and have less cash.

Cancelling the Credit Cards

If you don’t have your own credit cards, but rely on being a signatory on your spouse’s credit cards, he/she can cancel them and leave you out in the cold. To avoid this problem, take out credit cards in your own name prior to filing for divorce so you won’t be left without credit when you need it. This will also help you to establish credit if you haven’t already.

Cancelling the Utilities

A common dirty divorce trick is to ask the utility companies to shut off water, electricity, phone, and TV before leaving the home. This is annoying, childish, and easy to fix. To avoid the problem, call the utility companies and warn them that you are in the middle of a divorce and ask them not to turn off the utilities without checking first.

Monopolizing the Top Attorneys in Town

In every county, there are only a handful of really first-rate divorce attorneys. If your spouse makes appointments with all of them and spends an hour sharing confidential information, you won’t be able to hire any of these top attorneys to help with his/her divorce. To avoid this problem, call some top attorneys at the first sign of marital trouble and make an appointment with two or three.

Running Up Debts

Just before they file for divorce, your spouse might go on a shopping spree and buy new clothes, that sports car he always wanted, or a special piece of jewelry for his paramour. The debt will be a common liability, but the buyer can keep the property because it belongs to them personally.

Other debts to watch out for are unusual tax bills. A spouse can make decisions to cash in retirement accounts and/or note report income that could create a huge tax liability that you might be responsible in part for.

Use These Tips to Protect Yourself in Divorce

So, what can you do to protect yourself? Here are some tips:

Get Everything in Writing

Verbal agreements are not legally binding, and they can be easily manipulated or misinterpreted. Whenever possible, get everything in writing, including agreements about property division, custody arrangements, and support payments. This will help prevent any misunderstandings or disputes down the road.

Keep Emotions in Check

Divorce is an emotional time, but it’s crucial to keep your emotions in check during negotiations and discussions. Don’t let anger or hurt feelings cloud your judgment or lead you to make decisions that are not in your best interest. Take a step back and try to approach the situation with a clear head.

Work with a Skilled Divorce Team

According to a well-known attorney, mediator and podcast host, Susan Guthrie, Esq. says, “the first person you should call when you decide to get divorced is a divorce coach. The divorce coach can help you evaluate what type of divorce is best for you, educate you to the divorce process, help you work through your emotions, and help you decide on which of the various divorce professionals you should have on your team and prepare you with interview questions.” 

Guthrie also says, “the next two professionals on your team should be a certified divorce financial analyst (CDFA) and an experienced divorce attorney.”

Having these skilled and experienced professionals on your side can help you navigate the complex process and avoid common tricks. This team works together to help you reduce the time and cost of your divorce, and to help you make the best decisions for yourself in the short and long term.

Don’t Make Big Decisions Too Quickly

It’s easy to get caught up in the heat of the moment and make big decisions without fully thinking them through. Avoid making any major decisions until you’ve had time to think about them carefully and consult with your attorney. Rushing into decisions can lead to regret and financial consequences.

Divorce is a difficult process, but it doesn’t have to be made worse by dirty tricks. It’s important to note that the majority of divorces do not involve tricks like these, but by being aware of these tactics, and taking steps to protect yourself, you can avoid these problems and make the process go as smoothly as possible so you may move forward to a new and vibrant life.

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Have you been through a divorce? What dirty schemes did you endure from your ex-spouse? How did you combat them?

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I am presently separating from my husband after 40 years and I never imagined myself in this situation after all, I believed in the fairy tale that “they lived happily ever after”…not necessarily. It was hard to learn about the debt we had incurred and how the house we lived in had to be sold in order to pay down the debt. I raised four children mainly by myself and I was told how lucky I was which I was BUT so was he!! He got to advance his career and make lots of money which he spent on himself. I was frugal and went to consignment stores so that we could keep the Visa down. However, the day I left, one of the first things I did was to hire a good lawyer. I trust her but I also think you need to advocate for yourself and make sure you understand the system. I also have a good support system which acts as a “second pair” of eyes for me. Good luck to all who are navigating this because it’s hard…really hard at times but I know there is and will be light at the end. Take care all!

Teddee Grace

You never really know someone until you divorce them! I dated or had been married to my ex for almost 20 years and asked for very little in my divorce. I had worked very hard on numerous minor renovations to the house and had done all of the yard work and gardening myself for the almost five years we lived there, so asked for half the sale price of the property. The house did not sell for a year and when it did my ex-husband told me I didn’t need to be present at the closing on a specific date. He would accept one check and give me my share, less the attendant costs such as realtor fees, etc. I reread the divorce decree and verified that I was to be given my half before those expenses were taken out. I got a different attorney than the one I had used for the divorce, and he determined that my ex had never told either the realtor or his own attorney handling the sale of the property that the property had been a marital property. In that state, even if the wife’s name has not been put on the deed, it is considered a marital property. He got into quite a lot of hot water because he had attempted to inveigle these professionals into doing something illegal. Not only that, he had given me a false date for the closing, which was to be a week earlier. Needless to say, when his attorney and the realtor found out from my attorney what was going on, I got my check, for the correct amount cut separately and sent directly to me. Trust your own intelligence and instincts!


My ex hid money, lied on multiple occasions and offered me a property division that unfairly – and illegally – benefitted him. I called the CPA who had done our taxes for 20 years (we had been married 38 years) and he called us both to a meeting in which he carefully explained how and why the ex’s proposal was unequal, unfairly benefitted him and was illegal under CA law. I didn’t have to say a thing. He called me that night and suddenly wanted to now if “we could do something else.” I did not even ask h8m what he had in mind. I stated that I had learned enough in recent months to want to go ahead with the divorce which he had initiated. So glad that I did. It was all incredibly hard, but I had lots of support, a crackerjack female attorney and an insightful therapist with whom I had worked off and on for 12 years. I managed to sell our house, buy a a new house for myself, move across the country all while teaching full time, finish the school year, find a new job and negotiate a divorce. Whew! An attorney friend from my church put me in touch with a mediator who literally wrote the book on mediated divorce. My ex then refused to sign the agreement and left town on a sailing trip where he could not be contacted, thus delaying the house sale and the divorce. He agreed to attend marriage counseling “so that we could be friends,” a goal I denied as I did not think that his behavior qualified him to be my friend. “Friends don’t lie, steal or cheat” and he had done all three. Later, the marriage counselor told my therapist that his assessment of my ex was “a narcissistic Peter Pan,” Perfect analysis! Got him in 3 words. I have spent the last 17 years enjoying a rich, full life of friends, family and activities that suit me and my values. I do feel sorry for my adult children and our four grandchildren to whom he has not always been kind and whom he has embarrassed or made angry or whom he has hurt emotionally. Yea for freedom and healing, for friends, faith and family.

The Author

With 25 years of experience, Beverly Price guides you along your journey from getting to know yourself to self-empowerment through Life-shattering event and Divorce and Empowerment Coaching, so that you can reframe your mindset and rewrite your story as a confident, happy, and fulfilled woman.

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