You may have heard about parents who resort to dirty tricks for custody battle, either to retain full custody of their children or to get back at their spouse. This is not a good strategy, and may end up backfiring on the parent who tries to do it.
Child Custody Overview
When parents are unable to work out a custody arrangement on their own, a judge will have to decide where the children will live. Each spouse has an opportunity to make a case for why they should be the custodial parent. The fact that the hearing is a contested one leaves the door open to dirty tricks for custody battle.
Examples of Dirty Tricks for Custody Battle
Some dirty tricks take place before and during the custody hearing, while others happen after the issue of custody has been decided.
Dirty Tricks Before the Hearing
When people are getting ready to go to Court for a custody hearing, they may use one or more of the following strategies to strike out at their spouse or distract them from the custody hearing. Here are some examples:
- Clean out bank accounts and/or max out credit cards
- Get a restraining order against their spouse on false or trumped-up allegations
- Making a false claim against the other spouse for physical abuse on the spouse and/or the children
- Move with the children without notice or leaving a forwarding address
Dirty Tricks After the Hearing
After the custody hearing has taken place, there are still some dirty tricks that a former spouse can pull, such as:
- Limiting or denying the non-custodial parent telephone access to the child
- Denying the non-custodial parent his or her visitation rights
- Say nasty things about the non-custodial parent to the child to influence their feelings about the other parent
- Make it difficult or impossible for the non-custodial parent to attend activities at the child's school
- Fail to share information with the non-custodial parent about the child's health
How to Avoid Dirty Tricks
It may not be possible for divorcing parents to steer clear of dirty tricks for custody battle, but there are some things that they can do to keep them to a minimum.
- Don't discuss your former spouse with anyone other than your attorney. Anything you share with your legal team is confidential. Comments you make to family members and friends are not and they may be taken out of context and used against you.
- Once you hire a lawyer, all communication between you and your spouse should go through that person. Let the lawyers do any negotiating about custody arrangements. If your spouse suggests that the two of you discuss anything about your divorce "to make it easier," your response should be something along the lines of "Please contact my attorney."
- If you catch your spouse using dirty tricks, don't do the same to retaliate. Instead, contact your attorney to find out what legal steps you can take to rectify the situation.
If Your Spouse Uses Dirty Tricks
In a situation where your spouse is using unfair tactics against you, keep detailed records of everything that has transpired between the two of you. Include your spouse's statements and actions, but keep track of things you have said and done as well. Don't lose your temper or make threats toward your spouse. Instead, keep a cool head and let your attorney deal with it. That's what they are getting paid for.