Underhanded divorce tactics

Last year Forbes.com published several articles by Jeff Landers, an attorney who writes “for women who are going through a financially complex divorce.” Several articles focused on underhanded tactics one party can use—Landers refers to men, but I think these are the strategies sociopaths use, whether they are male or female.

How “conflicting out” top divorce attorneys can impact your divorce, on Forbes.com.

How some men are upending domestic violence laws to scam an advantage in divorce, on Forbes.com.

21 signs that your husband may be hiding marital assets during your divorce, on Forbes.com.

Story suggested by a Lovefraud reader.

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17 Comments on "Underhanded divorce tactics"

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Oh Donna…. a year and a half after the divorce, after having agreed to settle for less just to avoid costs both emotional and financial, we are still back to court for non payment,non signing,the whole darned rigmarole…. we started “discovery” again just yesterday. I’m exhausted and even though it seems that I know he’s a quater short on a dollar I get being thrown around in the rumination cycle again. I cannot afford to walk away from the money and yet I’m just tired of the constant conflict. I’m lucky that I have a GOOD lawyer who is kind and “Gets it”…but still….its emotional and finacial vampireism!!!!

All spaths are financially and emotional vampires. I got the divorce in 3/11, and found out after the divorce that he had stocks and bonds for 50,000 that he cashed out in 11/08, yet the spath was telling the courts he had not worked since 2005. My attorney did abcolutely nothing. The day of the trial, the judge pulled my attorney and myself into the chambers. She stated to me that I better walk with 10,000.00 or she would turn me in to the state attorneys office for abuse of the power of attorney with the marital home. How could that be, when I paid an attorney, and it was his advice to put the home in a irrevocable trust, because the spath would flee the home.
Needless to say, my attorney threw in the towel, after he had all the discovery, and the the spath showed no discovery. I had to do the next thing, I contacted the IRS, and showed them everything. Yes, being involved with a spath is an emotional rollercoaster. I do not miss it at all. Karma!!

Edge of Sanity,

How is it that our attorneys end up working against us, and out best interests?

My first attorney allowed my ex to dominate the domestic violence hearing with outrageous statements and hearsay. Her statements almost all began with, “Our therapist told me…” and “My personal trainer said…” and my attorney did not object once, giving me NO avenue for appeal, other than to hire another attorney for an additional $5,000 retainer.

Eventually I fired her and hired another firm that was supposed to be “tougher”… all they did was siphon off all of my remaining assets and tell me to capitulate to what my ex first demanded. Oh, and one of the attorneys at the firm represented me on the “domestic violence violations…”, during the hearings he did not speak, question any of the witnesses and did not know the name of the opposing party. Halfway through the hearing, out loud, he said, “who is this person everyone keeps talking about…”

I should have fired him right then, on the spot. Needless to say we lost the hearing, after which he said, “there’s nothing we can do, that judge just does not like you…”

Garfy4321- I know exactly what you are going thru. I recently turned the attorney in to the Ct. Bar Association, with all documentation of letters that he wrote to me stating that he would not file a motion to clarify for my Home equity loan that I signed, not the spath. He refused because I had no more monies. The
contents of the home was to be split 50/50 with a signed agreement-no signed agreement, and they took my clothes to goodwill, and gave to some company like goodwill the belongings that were left in the home. The
criminals get more of a chance to be represented by the defense team, yet there is not fair and unbiased trials in the divorce from a spath. The judicial system needs to be revamped, and the judges need to more astute to the personality disordered. The attorneys want the monies, for as little work as possible. If it gets to time consuming, they bail. I would gather all the info concerning that attorney, and state that you had to hire another attorney for another $5,000.00. Keep strong!

I’m so sorry to hear that other people live my life, but also it makes me feel a lot better to know that someone out there understands. Edge of sanity had a similar experience to mine–my own lawyers bullied me into accepting almost nothing or they would “drag out the divorce” by 2-3 years. MY lawyers. Now, 4 years later, X dragged me back into court. The new lawyer (chosen after me interviewing 5 other lawyers) says I’m screwed but that he would represent me. Then he proceeded to file something late and forget one of the basic facts of my case. I fired him yesterday and will represent myself, like I was going to in the beginning. I feel a lot of peace now. Even if I “lose”, I will be less dependent on the X.

Meanwhile, get the book “Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with NPD or BPD” by Bill Eddy and Randi Krueger. They just published it recently and I WISH it was available during my original divorce. You will see these tactics and how to handle them better.

Stay strong Everyone!

Dear edge:

Never thought I’d say it, but God bless the IRS.

When I finally kicked my S-ex to the curb, he owed me a sizeable sum of money. Even though I’m a lawyer, of course I never had him sign oh, like a promissory note. Anyhow, to make a long story short, I managed to get him to acknowledge the debts in writing, then promptly filed a 1099-C on him with the IRS. A 1099-C is for cancellation of debt. I got to take it off my taxes, but, even better, the cancelled debt was attributed to him as income by the IRS. It is so true that revenge is a dish best served cold. Bon appetit!

I am still wanting to go back into court… the judge that did our divorce, would not let me say one word !! I had a rotten lawyer by the way !!! I was being blackmailed in front of my lawyer, and she would NOT SAY anything to the judge !!!
I had paid CASH with MY MONEY, from the sale of my other home…. after 6 years of living together we were married…and thing changed FAST… we sold the house, built one in Florida with MY MONEY … sold that and bought one in Michigan…. TODAY he has the house, the camper, the jeep, the dog… I got the furniture and $200 a month for 4 years.. BIG DEAL !! He took me to the cleaners… it has been almost 2 years…(July of 2013) and I am still MAD that he walked away with my life savings … the house !!! I am sure that he was hiding money as well…. WHAT CAN I DO NOW ???? I can not afford a lawyer.. He had nothibg when he came into my life… now he has it all !! JUST NOT RIGHT !!!!! HE is a lier, cheater, con and a sociopath !!!! I am now on low income, living on welfare..at 62 years old….!!!

Yeah, I feel your pain. Sociopaths are relentless in a court battle.

I had to represent myself and got pretty good a the “legalese”.

My ex husband’s attorney attempted to get me to sign some form and I refused. I did my research and found out it would just give them more control over the negotiations. His attorney gave up the fight and this enabled me to “negotiate” more aggressively.

I discovered gross money mismanagement and his fear of the IRS forced him to “behave.”

We have to stand up to these jackasses. The legal system is not on our side, but you gotta love the IRS.

Funny, how these guys think they can get away with messing with the Feds. Real funny.

My ex wife married me with one thing in mind, to get as much as she could as quickly as possible. And she succeeded by doing something she had done at least several times previously, filing a false domestic violence injunction.

At the hearing, her testimony was so bizarre that my attorney assured me no reasonable judge would believe her… well, the judge granted her the injunction. My life became a living hell as she asserted all sorts of “violations”, began dragging me into court for contempt… got me fired from my job, vandalized my car and home, spread false rumors about me, repeatedly accused me of having STD’s even when I presented her, her attorney and the court with clean, recent test results.

The sheriff’s department refused to even take a report when my car and home were vandalized; when she tried to run me down as I jogged on the highway; when I received from the BMV proof that she had forged my signature and conveyed ownership of my car to her…

The state prosecutor’s office refused to even look at evidence I found of multiple short-term marriages with domestic violence filings, affidavits of previous husbands who had similar circumstances and worse…

A judge who believed every word she said, some testimony so bizarre it defied any logic or reasoning… my attorneys who were afraid of my wife, the judge and basically charged me over $30,000 to capitulate…

Finally, being extorted by the entire process, giving her whatever she wanted to go away, then recently getting a letter from the IRS saying that in the tax year 2011, the only year we filed jointly, she failed to list income or pay taxes on any of her temporary jobs, jobs she had before we met, and that I owe a significant tax obligation even though she had taken (without telling me) the entire return we were received from 2011.

So how do you hold a sociopath/psychopath accountable when they are able to manipulate everyone they meet into assisting her into ruining your life? Law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, my own attorneys all helped her steal, forge, perjure, lie, defraud, vandalize and worse. And there is hard evidence she has done this many times before, but they “authorities” won’t even look at it?

So now she is free to entrap her next victim, and I am jobless, on probation, broke, broken, house in default, creditors calling every 15 minutes on the phone. Because of the domestic violence filing and “violation”, and because my former employer fired me with cause (and I have no idea even what she told them), I went from being a well-compensated professional to being blacklisted from every job I am considered for.

Garfy, you stated that in 2011 your ex-spath cashed your return. Did she forge your signature? Both names were on the check. If she did forge your name, contact the IRS because that is a criminal offense. The courts look at it one way, their way. Even though you knew of her short multiple marriages, they would ask why did you get married to someone like this. Try and remember anything anything she may have done illegally. Spaths are a tornado, they destroy everything that comes into their path.

Garfy, what state do you live in?

Check with the IRS for innocent spouse protection on that income tax return 2011 OR file separate but married on an amended return.

This may not work, but check with the IRS. The fact that she got the refund from the 2011 – I think this is what I understand – indicates that you probably never saw the return.

Judges do not look at “past” grievances in divorce. I live in Texas and it is a no fault state so people do whatever. It all depends on much money you have for the attorney. Unless you are a convicted pedophile anything goes.

She must have had some money to glaze over this behavior. Especially, the forged documents.

All I can say is we all go thru this crap with sociopaths. The only answer at times is the IRS or good ole karma.

The karma will get her someday. I am sorry for your anguish and mess.


One more thing. Many attorneys are psychopaths/socipaths. Attorneys, doctors, professors and counselors are attracted to these professions.

I am not saying that all of them are but you will find these individuals in these areas.

And then there are just bad lawyers.

Hope 52, you are absolutely correct in saying that lawyers, doctors, and judges are psychopaths. I went thru five different attorneys totalling over 250,000 and more. The ironic part, is that the ex-spath left a list stating he wanted to get a divorce to save the assets, work part-time, disability, and title 19. I showed the Irs the list, and found this to be pre-meditated. Everyone going thru this, must be strong, and do not let your heart guide you, let your gut do that. You must defend yourself, and do not count on the police, your attorney, or the judicial
system. Go beyond that-Go higher-FBI, IRS, and social security. All of these government sectors work hand in hand, and they will even prosecute the attorneys that may have possibly got paid off to not bring anything into the court. I am looking forward to the day I can testify against the spath. The truth always prevail. Now the spath is in a catch 22. If he pleads guilty, he gets a lesser sentence, but still owes the IRS back taxes that he never paid for his company for six years, interest, and penalities, and if he pleads not guilty, a trial. Everyone be strong, keep cool, and do not let your emotions show in the court, the spath loves this. I do not miss any of the drama, or the control of abuse that he had over me. I am in control of myself.

Oh my gosh! This is the story of my life. It is comforting to see that I am not the only one out there. Sad but true there are so many evil and manipulative ex-spouses.

Here is my shortened story. Married for 17 years, two children, educated woman who stayed home to care for the children, home and husband while his career really took off. Always trusted him, signed documents and income tax returns as well. Be careful with IRS electronic filing. Once the IRS has your signature on file, they can file without you even seeing or approving of the return.

I filed for divorce for the second and final time in 2008. First time in 2000 and very foolishly took him back. If only I knew what I know now…….. I went through 4 attorneys and it cost me and my parents $200,000 in legal fees. I read all of the articles today and he must have been counseled by someone about all of the tactics because he certainly mastered them all.

I understand all of the articles all to well. He also had me sign an agreement to take out a home equity loan for $200,000. I was not able to access it, nor was a responsible for repayment, but I foolishly agreed to the loan. He spent all of the money, told the court I had access and then left me to pay half of the debt.

All along he racked up debt in the amount of $130,000 in credit cards, $750,000 in mortgage debt and cried he had no money to do anything about the situation. All while making a handsome salary of $250,000.

The divorce was final in 2009 only after a long trial. My first attorney did nothing to help me and to date I believe she was probably paid off. I lost everything including all of the assets and furnishings I brought into our marriage. He had nothing and a lot of debt.

My second attorney took me for another $50,000 in the short time of one year and essentially stalled everything. At this point, my ex even cashed out $120,000 in stocks that were awarded to me, stating he needed the money. The judge did nothing, although she was the one who awarded this money to me.

I lost my primary residence, which I had used my money to purchase, our second home in the CO mountains and almost all of the furnishings.

To all of you are thinking about a divorce, please please make sure you get an excellent well connected attorney. Be careful, be very careful. They can be sharks and will do nothing.

My third attorney took $8,000 in a matter of 2 weeks and did nothing. By the time I hired by second attorney I was not living in the state that I was divorced, CO. I had to move to another state for my safety as my ex was violating restraining orders and was not paying me anything. I truly had nothing.

My final attorney who I still have has been much better. To date my ex still continues to fail to pay me, he has violated 7 court orders to produce financial records among other serious court violations. Each and every time, the judge orders him to produce he does nothing, and the court does nothing. My attorney files all kinds of Contempt docs but still he will not produce. I am certain, without a doubt, that he has off shore accounts, hidden assets through our childrens banks accounts and/or family members. I finally found some old credit card receipts and found an entry for a company that did wires to off shore accounts. Of course, when the judge ordered all of the records for this company, his attorneys said they would produce but never did.

He used my children to steal from me, money, family jewelry, and even my hidden legal records. He stalked me from across the country and still the courts did nothing.

I am asking for some assistance from all of you. I have court orders for him to show me all of the income tax returns from 2008 – to present. He produces the forms, but not the supporting documentation like 1099s W-2s and bank account interest and dividends, mutual funds and stocks that were cashed out. How do I get these docs? Also he started two businesses…….. paid one of our children, but failed to produce a 1099 for the income our child was paid for the last 3 years. Is there anything I can do about this?

Now, I continue to have to deal with him unfortunately. Our children are now college age, live with him because of all of his giving them everything. He claims he has nothing, with all of his debt that the children have to pay for all of their college expenses and are getting financial aide because of the hidden bank accounts and his accumulated debt. Please help me understand.

I am now very very happily remarried but continue to have to deal with all of his manipulation and of course my legal fees. I truly believe in the end, Karma is a b**ch. God has always seen me though everything and still will.

OFT…Isn’t HE a prize??? Your ex sounds exactly like mine…
If you get answers you can be sure they are scrambled….My ex has conveniently been unemployed (although he did send my daughter a text saying he has a new job as executive VP of one of the better known tech firms….we think he is lying)
If they are employed you can get an automatic withholding order from the company. You can forget about collecting anything from stock….you’ll suddenly hear that ALL the stock has not vested..
I don’t normally cuss but here it is …they are *%#@s
There I said it.


Thank you for your comments to me. I found them very comforting. My ex is also in high tech — an engineer. Is yours too? He was fired from two companies within 3 years and now is employed by a major cable company and lied about all of that in court as well. They are evil, not nasty, but evil and they will have their day, either on this earth or before their maker.

Who is your ex employed by?

How do I get the IRS involved since I am certain he has off shore accounts and hidden assets? This will very seriously affect the financial aide our children receive for college since he is showing an unsurmountable credit card debt even though he makes in excess of $250,000. How do I get the records reviewed?

Any assistance would be greatly appreciated. Another question………. do children of divorce who have a parent that lies to them about the other parent ever see the truth? I wonder.

Yes my ex is an engineer and was also fired from two companies in the past three years. Yes I have called him every name in the book and do believe they will fry….cannot believe we are going to experience any real justice in this life!!! Maybe our gift is the ability to see them for what they really are and thus to protect our beings from the likes of them!!!
Financially if he has offshore accounts a forensic CPA will be easily able to tell you. In my case he had moved large chunks of our IRA to China, and then maintained that that money was lost. The judge did not buy that and awarded me alimony instead (although TX is a community asset state)I have still to see any of that money. He was recently re served financial discovery papers. Part of the problem with their disorder is their inability to plan for the future. Your ex like mine may just have squandered money.He may not have it. I am waiting to see if my ex actually has a job come May 10th as he claims. If he is telling the truth(HA)
then I can collect some of the monies due to me by means of an automatic withholding order.
As to kids…. My son is just like his father. He lies and uses people. He will be 25 next month but I have’nt heard from him in over six months because I refused him money.
My daughter is completely financially independent and an engineer with a PhD!!! She sees through her father completely but still chooses to maintain contact with him. they live in different states so they largely text. She calls me every day and we are close. She recently got engaged to a man who is VERY bright…also a PhD but I have some real reservations about this guy… I have voiced them to her but that is all I can do. I have learnt through MANY hard knocks to detach from the kids. If they choose to have loving interactions with you GREAT…. otherwise let go and leave them to their choices….
I was married to that man forover 25 years…. he walked away without a backward glance leaving me homeless, unemployed and devastated. I am fortunate to have had good friends and family. I would be dead by now without their solid support. My school friends from India (about 18 of them) call me EVERY day…they know my ex well…I married my high school sweetheart…uuuggg
thought I was SO special….until I was not.

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