Five Dirty Tricks Used In Child Custody Battles

Dirty tricks are commonly used by a disgruntled spouse in custody cases, and it’s useful to know what might be coming down the pike. These illegal and inappropriate acts involve making false allegations against a spouse, hiding assets, disappearing with the kids in tow and using financial leverage to pressure a spouse to agree to custody terms.

Custody battles often descend into a labyrinth of deceit, mayhem and unfairness. Many dirty tricks involve setting up men as unfit custodial parents based on stereotypes. Organizations like the American Coalition for Fathers and Children can help you fight setups and get fair legal treatment.

The Most Common Dirty Tricks Used in Custody Battles

Unfortunately, many of the dirty tricks involve committing felonies — such as kidnapping children and stealing funds. The most common dirty tricks include the following:

1. Cleaning Out the House

One of the most common dirty tricks is leaving the other spouse with nothing. Women especially tend to do this, justifying it by claiming fears of being prevented from leaving. Mad but fearful, they often decide to take all the relatively liquid resources, important documents and the kids.

Some who put more planning into the betrayal take all the furniture, and the spouse comes home to find absolutely nothing. The bank accounts are withdrawn and credit cards appropriated, so the spouse has difficulty getting help, proving identity or having a place to sleep. This kind of effort almost always fails and simply throws down a gauntlet in the victimized spouse’s face.

2. Canceling Credit Cards

Many families live from paycheck to paycheck without significant savings, and that has only increased under the coronavirus threat. Canceling all of a spouse’s credit cards is an especially loathsome trick that will put a working wife or husband into deep trouble.

The act is seldom prosecuted because one signatory has the right to cancel joint credit cards. If the victimized spouse has custody, they may have trouble feeding and supporting the kids while getting things resolved.

3. Cutting Off the Utilities

This dirty trick is favored by vengeful spouses who have the utilities fully or partly in their names. The act goes unpunished legally because the spouse has the right to cancel utilities in their name.

4. Getting a Spouse Fired

Spouses know all the dirty secrets, and they have no trouble providing information to an employer that will cause the spouse to get fired. Variations on this trick include reporting illegal tax deductions to the IRS or insider trading to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

5. Refusing To Pay Support Until Made To Do So

The primary earner in a marriage can use financial pressure in several ways, but the most popular is trying to starve the family until favorable concessions are made [source]. The primary earner simply moves out of the house and refuses to pay support until ordered to do so. This strategy often forces the victimized spouse to make concessions or accept an unfair settlement.

There are multiple variations on the theme — such as using financial pressure to get a spouse fired or laid or promising a temporary windfall in exchange for a much lower settlement than that to which the spouse is entitled.

Using the Dirtiest Trick — Try Integrity

Trying to win a custody case can blind people to the consequences when they get caught up in the competition to win at any cost. Making false allegations, hiding assets and alienating the children aren’t the proper ways to win your custody case in California. 

Spouses who show integrity throughout the divorce process demonstrate their parental values and inner strength, and they win custody the right way. With the help of your trusted attorney, you can win your custody case with integrity instead of resorting to dirty tricks (source: Custody Case).

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