Dirty tricks may seem fun or smart at the time. They may give a person a special sense of satisfaction that he is “getting” the other person or seizing some advantage. But the truth of the matter is that dirty tricks rarely lead to any advantage for the perpetrator and always lead to ill will. They also can provide inspiration to the other side, much the same way that the bombing of Pearl Harbor “awoke a sleeping giant.” Here are some dirty tricks to avoid.
Don’t Take Everything. If you are leaving the home or the marriage, don’t take everything in the home and leave it in a shambles. If you are thinking about draining a financial account, consult with a lawyer before you do. There may be times when this is necessary, but most often it is a non productive dirty trick.
Don’t Cut Off the Credit Cards Without Warning. Oftentimes the person with control of credit cards may think that the best way to teach someone a lesson is to cut off the credit cards without warning. There definitely is wisdom in protecting credit when there is trouble in the marriage, but this can be done without unnecessary damage to the other party. If credit cards have to be cut off, make sure notice is provided to the other party immediately after doing so, so they are not surprised, embarrassed or hurt by it.
Don’t Get Your Spouse Fired. Many angry spouses want to take whatever information they have on their spouse and use it to “make them pay” by getting them fired. I have also seen people turn their spouse into the IRS, or to professional licensing boards, or to criminal authorities. These types of retaliatory actions usually cause harm, not only to the target, but to the entire family. You can’t get child support from someone you had fired!
Don’t Cut Off the Utilities. I have had more than one phone call from a female client reporting that the telephone, power or cable has been cut off at the house without warning. This is surely one of the dirtier tricks to pull. A move like this creates a downward spiral of attacks and counter attacks.
Don’t Tell the Paramour’s Spouse. One natural reaction to finding out about an affair is to run and call the spouse of the paramour. Of course, the natural product of this move may be to provoke that spouse to file an alienation of affection suit which places the family assets in jeopardy. Obviously, a self destructive move. Of course, sometimes it is advantageous to share information, but this should be done only after consultation with a lawyer.
Divorce should not be brutal. Effective actions can be taken to protect rights without shrinking to low measures.