Sneaky Divorce Tactics: Don’t be a Victim of These

During a divorce proceeding, one partner may employ sneaky divorce tactics to gain undue advantages during the process.  Divorce proceedings can be emotionally draining and stressful already, and when these nasty divorce tactics are added, it makes things more unbearable.

The best way to not fall victim to these divorce strategies and tactics is to be aware of them. Recognize the tell-tale signs that a power play is happening and prepare yourself accordingly.

By seeing what the other side is up to, you can set up your options in such a way that you will be able to protect your rights and even come out on top. If you feel confused, or helpless or it gets out of hand, you may consult a divorce attorney.

Here are sneaky tactics to watch out for during a divorce:

Dirty Divorce Tactics

Emotional Divorce Tactics can leave you confused and frustrated

Sneaky Divorce Tactics

1. Hiding Assets

One of the most common sneaky divorce tactics is hiding assets. This involves one spouse concealing or transferring ownership of assets to avoid having to divide them in the divorce settlement. Common examples of hidden assets include:

  • Bank accounts
  • Investments
  • Real estate
  • Business interests
  • Valuable personal property

2. Fabricating Debts

Another sneaky tactic is fabricating debts. This involves one spouse falsely claiming to have debts in order to reduce the number of assets available for division in the divorce settlement. Examples of fabricated debts include:

  • Credit card bills
  • Loans from friends or family
  • Medical bills

3. Alienating Children

Alienation of children is a tactic in which one spouse tries to turn the children against the other spouse in order to gain an advantage in divorce proceedings. Common examples of alienation tactics include:

  • Badmouthing the other parent
  • Limiting or denying contact with the other parent
  • Encouraging the children to choose sides

4. Refusing to Cooperate

Refusing to cooperate with the divorce proceedings is another sneaky tactic used by some spouses. This involves delaying or obstructing the process in order to make it more difficult or expensive for the other spouse. Examples of refusing to cooperate include:

  • Refusing to provide financial information
  • Failing to show up for scheduled court appearances
  • Delaying the sale of a shared asset

5. Misrepresenting Income

Misrepresenting one’s income is another sneaky divorce tactic. This involves lying about one’s income in order to reduce the amount of child support or alimony owed. Common examples of misrepresenting income include:

  • Undeclared side jobs
  • Falsifying tax returns
  • Concealing bonuses or other forms of compensation.

6. Concealing Assets:

  • Hiding or transferring money or valuable assets to friends or family members in an effort to prevent them from being included in the divorce settlement.
  • Underreporting income or overstating debts on tax returns or financial statements.
  • Failing to disclose or deliberately hiding stocks, real estate, businesses, or other valuable assets.

7. Sabotaging the Other Spouse’s Credit

Sabotage is another dirty divorce tactic used to gain an undue advantage:

  • Running up joint credit cards or closing joint accounts to damage the other spouse’s credit score.
  • Failing to pay joint bills or failing to make mortgage or loan payments on time.
  • Deliberately making false or misleading statements to credit reporting agencies.

8. Playing the Blame Game

  • Constantly shifting the blame onto the other spouse in order to manipulate public opinion, the court, or the mediator.
  • Using tactics such as name-calling, verbal abuse, and humiliation to discredit the other spouse.
  • Attempting to shift the blame to the other spouse for problems that are actually the result of one’s own actions or decisions.

9. Using Children as Pawns

During divorce proceedings, some spouses may resort to narcissistic divorce tactics by using children as a pawn. This include:

  • Using the children as leverage to control or manipulate the other spouse during the divorce process.
  • Making false allegations of abuse or neglect in order to gain custody or limit the other spouse’s access to the children.
  • Interfering with the other spouse’s relationship with the children, including by refusing to allow visits or phone calls.

10. Manipulating Legal Procedures

Another brutal divorce tactic is to manipulate legal proceedings. In some states. this is common.

  • Filing baseless lawsuits or motions in an effort to delay the divorce proceedings or drain the other spouse’s resources.
  • Failing to comply with court orders or deliberately dragging out the divorce process in order to cause stress and financial hardship.
  • Attempting to use the divorce process to settle old grudges or score personal victories over the other spouse.

11. Delaying Tactics

Delaying tactics can involve stalling or dragging out the divorce process, often with the goal of causing frustration and financial burden for the other spouse. This can be achieved through multiple methods, including failing to respond to legal requests or court orders, obstructing the discovery process, and refusing to cooperate in mediation or other settlement efforts.

The problem is, for every single motion that they file in court, your side has to respond, and, of course, this jacks up your legal costs. Examples of delaying tactics:

  • Refusing to provide necessary financial information
  • Failing to attend court-ordered mediations or settlement conferences
  • Not responding to legal requests in a timely manner
  • Dragging out the discovery process by failing to turn over relevant documents or information

12. Frustration Tactics

Frustration tactics can involve intentionally making the divorce process as difficult as possible for the other spouse. This can be achieved through a range of behaviors, including being uncooperative, making unreasonable demands, and creating chaos during negotiations. Examples of frustration tactics:

  • Refusing to compromise on any issues
  • Making unreasonable demands during negotiations
  • Filing repetitive or frivolous motions
  • Being uncooperative during the discovery process

13. Harassment during divorce proceedings

Harassment can come in many forms during the divorce process and can be aimed at causing emotional distress, fear, or anxiety for the other spouse.

The overall strategy is to put pressure on you to quickly settle the divorce so the other side can get away with the hidden asset. Examples:

  • Sending threatening messages or emails
  • Engaging in physical or verbal abuse
  • Making repeated phone calls or visits
  • Following the other spouse or monitoring their movements

14. Refusal to pay child support

Refusing to pay court-ordered child support or spousal support can be a dirty divorce tactic for one spouse to exert control or cause financial hardship for the other spouse. This can be especially problematic when the other spouse is relying on this support to provide for their children. Examples include:

  • Failing to make payments as required by the court order
  • Concealing assets to avoid paying support
  • Quitting a job or reducing hours to avoid paying support
  • Refusing to cooperate with wage garnishment orders

15. Emotional Blackmail

Emotional blackmail can involve using guilt, fear, or other emotional appeals to manipulate the other spouse during the divorce process. This can be especially harmful when it comes to decisions about property division, custody arrangements, and other important issues. Examples of emotional blackmail divorce tactic:

  • Threatening to harm oneself or others
  • Making false accusations of abuse or neglect
  • Using the children as pawns to gain leverage
  • Threatening to ruin the other spouse’s reputation or livelihood

16. False Accusations

False accusations can involve making false claims of abuse, neglect, or other wrongdoing in an effort to gain an advantage in divorce proceedings. This can be damaging to both the accused spouse and the children involved. Examples of false accusations:

  • Falsely claiming that the other spouse has engaged in domestic violence or abuse
  • Falsely accusing the other spouse of neglecting the children
  • Fabricating evidence to support false allegations
  • Making false claims of addiction or other issues to gain an advantage in custody proceedings.

financial dirty Divorce Tactics

17. Canceling of utilities

Finally, the other party can also cancel your utilities. Although this is easy to fix, it is a sign of bad faith and harassment because it causes unnecessary stress.

Ways to Defeat Sneaky Divorce Tactics

It is important to remain proactive and be aware of the situation in order to protect your interests and well-being. Here are some smart ways to defeat these tactics and come out on top during the divorce proceedings. By being knowledgeable and taking the necessary steps, you can effectively counter any attempts to manipulate or harm you during this difficult time.

  1. Hire an Experienced Divorce Attorney: A knowledgeable and experienced divorce attorney can help you identify any sneaky tactics your spouse may be using and help you respond effectively.
  2. Gather Evidence: Keep records of any communication, financial transactions, and other relevant information that may be used to support your case in court.
  3. Stay Calm and Professional: Responding to sneaky divorce tactics with anger or frustration can play into your spouse’s hands. Instead, stay calm and professional and let your attorney handle any legal battles.
  4. Focus on your Children: If you have children, prioritize their well-being and avoid getting caught up in any petty arguments with your spouse.
  5. Seek Mediation: If you’re finding it difficult to come to a resolution with your spouse, consider seeking the help of a mediator to help you reach a mutually acceptable agreement.
  6. Keep Communication Open: When possible, try to keep communication open and respectful with your spouse to avoid any unnecessary conflicts.
  7. Avoid Making Rash Decisions: Sneaky divorce tactics are designed to make you act impulsively. Avoid making any decisions you may regret and take the time to consider your options carefully.


In order to have their way either for good or for bad, divorcing partners sometimes employ various sneaky maneuvers to have their way. There are also smart ways to get help and defeat these tactics and come out on top during the divorce proceedings and should be known when preparing for divorce.

Deborah Kelly

Deborah Kelly

As a proud single mom who has seen it all, I encourage others by sharing my experiences & curating content on divorce, adoption, child & spousal support. My passion also includes spending quality time with my kids and giving back to my community.

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