In a perfect world, parents who are divorcing will all put aside their differences with each other when it comes to figuring out what is best for the children and only go to battle when they really can’t agree.
In reality, some parents use their children as pawns in a high-stakes game of revenge against their spouse. If you believe your spouse is going to engage in an all-out war over custody, you need to watch for the following dirty tricks:
1. Games of distraction
What’s the best way to throw you for an emotional loop and get you riled up right before court? Any type of attack that threatens your financial stability will usually do it. Your spouse might:
- Empty the joint bank account and create overdrafts
- Burn through all the credit cards
- Make a false claim of domestic violence and have you arrested or, at a minimum, barred from the house
- Serve you with papers with a last-minute motion at work
Essentially, your spouse may do anything to embarrass you and make you anxious. The goals are generally to infuriate you and hope that you lose your cool in front of the judge (in order to bolster a claim that you’re abusive or unreasonable) and maybe panic you so that you’ll give in to his or her demands just to make the mayhem stop.
2. Manipulation tactics
These are the lowest things a parent can usually do because it directly involves the children. You might find out that:
- Your spouse is telling the children intimate details about your relationship (like the fact that you had an affair or something else that you wouldn’t normally tell the children).
- Your spouse keeps speaking negatively about you in the presence of your children, hoping that the children will pick up on the sentiments he or she expresses and repeat them.
- Your spouse alleges that you physically or sexually abused the children (and may even be coaching a young child to make statements that sound incriminating).
Unfortunately, there’s nothing you can do to prevent dirty tricks in advance. You just have to breathe deep and realize that family court judges see these things all the time — and it will all probably backfire on your spouse. For more information on how to deal with a difficult custody battle, talk to your attorney today.