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Sneaky Divorce Tactics in California – All You Need to Know

When it comes to divorce, emotions run high, and your spouse may go to extreme lengths to get the outcome of the final divorce agreement to land in their favor. There are several sneaky divorce tactics to look out for when financial and child custody issues are part of your separation. Having the support of an experienced divorce attorney can help you avoid becoming a victim of these tactics, so you can reach an agreement that is fair to both parties.

Common Sneaky Custody Tactics to Watch For

  • Attempting to turn your children against you. This can present in several ways, including your spouse talking badly about you to your children, attempting to alienate you from them, or telling your children or others untrue stories about you to make you look bad as a parent. Parents may try to do this so your children say they would rather spend more time with one parent over the other if they are asked about their wishes by the judge as they determine what is in the child’s best interest in a custody case.
  • Attempting to reduce their child support obligations. Parents could attempt to get more custody of their children simply to reduce their obligation to pay child support. This is not in the best interest of the children if the parent does not truly want to spend more high-quality time with them. As a sneaky financial tactic, parents could attempt to falsify their income records to make it look as though they do not have the means to make child support payments.
  • False accusations of abuse or neglect. This is an extremely risky tactic, as parents who are found to falsely accuse another parent of neglect or abuse can potentially lose their custodial rights or face legal fines. If they are desperate to get more custody, they may try this tactic since abusive parents could lose custody or visitation rights.

Common Sneaky Financial Tactics to Watch For

  • Attempting to hide assets. Since almost all property is community property in a marriage, spouses could attempt to hide assets from one another to avoid having them considered in the property division process. This could include secret bank accounts, investment accounts, or retirement funds, all of which are considered community property if they were funded during the marriage.
  • Wasting marital assets. During an emotional divorce, spouses may attempt to relax by going on an extravagant vacation, purchasing real estate to be away from the other spouse, or buying gifts for themselves or others. This is something a financially dependent spouse may attempt to do while they still have access to shared assets to hurt the other spouse’s financial status.
  • Attempting to avoid spousal support orders. Like with avoiding child support, a spouse could attempt to provide an inaccurate picture of their financial situation to make it look like they cannot afford spousal support payments. Additionally, the other spouse could also falsify their finances to make it look like they require spousal support when they could support themselves.

FAQs

Q: Does it make a difference who files for divorce first in California?

A: In a California divorce, there is one petitioner (the person who files for divorce) and a respondent (the person who is served the divorce papers). Since California is a “no-fault” divorce state, it doesn’t really matter who the petitioner is, but there are some small advantages to filing first in certain circumstances. For example, if your case requires a trial, the petitioner will present their side first, which can be advantageous for setting the stage of the case.

Q: What is a spouse entitled to in a divorce in California?

A: California is a community property state. This means that property, assets, or debts obtained during the marriage are considered community property, which will all be equally divided between the two during a divorce. Couples can work together to determine who will keep what, but a judge will still need to determine that the split is fair and equal. If you cannot decide how to divide property on your own, the court will do it for you.

Q: How is spousal maintenance determined?

A: Spousal maintenance is another term for alimony or spousal support. Spousal maintenance payments are determined on a case-by-case basis by a judge who considers several factors. The financial means of each spouse, how their needs and income compare to one another, the debts and assets of each spouse, and the length of the marriage are all taken into consideration by the judge. The employability of the supported spouse is also evaluated. There are many factors to consider, and a divorce attorney can assist you in presenting your needs to the judge.

Q: If attempts to serve my spouse do not work, what is my next step?

A: Divorce papers must be served to the other party through a legally recognized process. If your ex-spouse actively avoids the service of these papers by refusing to sign them, not answering the door to receive the papers, or moving to an unknown location, it can make the process difficult. If you are not able to find a person over 18 who can access your ex to serve them the papers, you can also serve them through publication or posting. This means you could publish the divorce summons in a newspaper or at a courthouse. If the other spouse does not respond after a sufficient amount of time, you are free to continue with the divorce process on your own.

We’re Here to Help You Fight Honestly

At All American Law, our team of Rancho Cucamonga family law attorneys has over 30 years of experience helping couples going through a divorce. We can help you navigate simple cases or support you through complex cases involving child custody, property division, and support payments. We analyze each case individually to provide you with the most effective options for your situation. If you are preparing to file for divorce, and especially if you are worried about your spouse using sneaky tactics during the process, contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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