Divorce can be ugly, there is no doubt about it. Furthermore, not everyone plays “fairly” throughout the process. With couples no longer getting along, strained finances, and worries about who gets what, there are definitely some “dirty tricks” that repeatedly show up in divorce cases.
Here is a list of the “dirty tricks” to look out for when you are starting the divorce process.
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Dirty Trick #1 – Using an Order of Protection Inappropriately
This is one of the most common things we see, time and time again in Chicago divorces. One person wants the other person out of the house and they won’t leave, so they orchestrate an Order of Protection and obtain it on an emergency basis, ex-parte. Emergency Orders of Protection are often brought without any notice to the other side, and so there is no evidence to refute what the person says at the order of protection hearing, resulting in a temporary emergency Order of Protection being put in place, which effectively could remove someone from their residence. This also sometimes is used to gain a leg up on parenting time (formerly known as residential custody) but it is a completely inappropriate way to use an order of protection and constitutes an abuse thereof. Illinois has held that an order of protection is to be used as a shield, and not a sword. If an order of protection is obtained against a person and they are removed from their home or denied parenting time, they can demand an expedited rehearing to try and have the order taken care of before the actual return date.
Dirty Trick #2 – Parental Alienation and Abuse Allegations
There are many insecure parents who are afraid of losing parenting time with their children, so they conjure up abuse allegations that really are not true, or are far-fetched, to say the least. We have also seen someone allege physical or mental abuse of their children, and when they don’t get the results they are looking for they will sometimes escalate it even further by calling DCFS or doing other things to try and undermine the legal process. There are many ways to circumvent this, but each situation is unique so there is no cookie-cutter solution. Working with an experienced child custody attorney is invaluable in these situations.
Dirty Trick #3 – Transferring Assets to a Third Party
This is a divorce tale as old as time. Someone thinks they are super duper sneaky by transferring all of their money, or their house, or their cars to another person because they think they or their spouse will file for divorce. Well, the trick is on them! If these cases, we can still go after it as dissipation and ask that the party pay half the value (or more) back to the other spouse. And, we issue discovery that on average goes back 3-5 years, so we usually can see the transfers happening. Judges are also on to this behavior.
Dirty Trick #4 – Refusing to Comply with Discovery
This dirty trick is always a fun one. Someone may want to stall a case because they don’t want to get divorced, or they want to get even with their spouse, so they don’t comply with discovery. We have many options to deal with this including issuing Subpoenas and requesting discovery sanctions, which are sometimes monetary.
Dirty Trick #5 – Suddenly No More Overtime, Bonuses, Commissions, Etc.
This is another very common issue in Chicago divorce cases. It is amazing, really, that when someone files for divorce or two parties separate, the party who once worked a ton of overtime no longer has that option. Or, bonuses are no longer given. Or, commissions are lower. While there are situations where this may be legitimate, if you worked a lot of overtime and then suddenly claim it is no longer offered to you, you need to be prepared to prove it, because Judges are always suspect when this happens, as they wonder if it was done intentionally to try and lower a child support obligation.