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By Stephen Pederson

Dirty Divorce Tricks

Harvard education lawyer discusses how divorce tactics have changed over the years.

A picture of a gavel.

Dirty Divorce Tricks

In the dirty tricks department, there are few acts that have lead to more unscrupulous activites than that of divorce procedures.  In most cases, both parties feel agrieved and that is the perceived justifications to “drop the gloves”, so to speak.  However, over the years there has been a noted change in tactics as Harvard Law educated divorce lawyer states:

In the days before no-fault divorces, conduct was an important ingredient in the divorce process. If you could prove your spouse was “cheating” on you, leverage immediately inured to that spouse. If your spouse was a public figure (politician, business person, socialite) the threat of exposure changed the dynamics of resolution.

With conduct becoming less important in the economics of divorce, eavesdropping, letter opening, e-mail reading and the infamous detective hiding in the shadows with a telephoto lens on his camera are not as widely used. This is true unless the conduct is so egregious as to shock even the toughest judge or more importantly, if exposed, ruin the professional or social reputation of the other spouse.

What seems to have increased are tactics that involve the hiding of financial resources from one or both spouses.

Most dirty tricks fall within the financial arena. Hidden (or perceived hidden) assets/income is the most common issue in high-end divorces… Divorce amongst couples with substantial wealth can result in production of altered, forged or completely bogus documents. These range from bank and stock accounts to deeds. Also the use of offshore accounts, until very recently, was a common practice. If the spouse can’t find the money, the Court can’t divide it, thus creating a premium on deceit and fraud.

For more on the dirty tricks of divorce proceedings, click on the interview with lawyer David Stern below.

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