Devry Smith Frank LLP

October 20, 2014 10:00 ET

Divorce Dirty Deeds Exposed

Clearing Bank Accounts, Badgering Bosses and Confusing the Kids Top List

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 20, 2014) - Julie Tyas, a Devry Smith Frank LLP, lawyer with seven years' experience in family law is making a plea to Canadian couples to keep it civil. She's acted as counsel on dozens of divorces and hundreds of family law cases and although some remain amicable, she cites that seven out of ten divorces get nasty during the separation process and a quarter of them escalate to Divorce Dirty Deeds.

A recent poll by Devry Smith Frank LLP, showed surprisingly optimistic views on divorce considering Tyas' estimation that only 3 out of 10 divorces keep things clean.

  • 74.3% of respondents believe that they can, in fact, divorce amicably.
  • A nearly equal balance of men (73.4%) and women (75.2%) believe they can have an amicable divorce.
  • The higher the income, the less likely Canadians are to consider a divorce.

So what are the top tactics used by feuding families? Tyas has developed the following top five list of Divorce Dirty Deeds:

1) Taking the Money (Note: most often used by men)

One spouse depletes jointly held bank accounts, and transfers the money into accounts that they hold alone. They then watch the other spouse struggle with bounced cheques and pre-authorized payments. This can also be used as a tactic to hide money and assets reducing net worth before divorce proceedings.

How it backfires:

It is very likely that you will get caught. It usually results in your spouse successfully obtaining a court order to return the money and could see an order freezing your own bank accounts to prevent it from happening again.

2) Manipulating the Kids (Note: most often used by women)

Turning the kids against your spouse to show the courts that your children want to live with you and therefore YOU should have sole custody.

How it backfires:

The court has trained professionals to spot this type of deception. If caught, this tactic can result in the other parent being ordered sole custody and getting limited access rights to their children.

3) Badgering The Boss

Possibly the most short-sighted of Divorce Dirty Deeds, spouses air 'dirty laundry' with their partner's employer, resulting in him or her being fired.

How it backfires:

If your spouse is the breadwinner, you need him or her to be working in order to obtain child and/or spousal support. It will impact their income and likely result in less support money for you in a divorce settlement. It's basically cutting off current and future support for temporary revenge.

4) Calling the Police (Note: most often used by women)

Alleging a domestic assault in order to gain exclusive possession of the home (and possibly a restraining order, which would impact the amount of time your spouse gets to see the kids.) This temporarily gives the 'victim' de facto custody of the children.

How it backfires:

If your spouse is able to prove that you have deliberately made false claims or accusations of abuse, there is a chance that you will be ordered to leave the family home. The kids will likely stay in the home with your spouse while you have to 'couch surf' and enjoy limited access to your children.

5) Starving out your Spouse (Note: most often used by men)

Refusing to pay support to your spouse or any household bills until you are forced to do so. If you are the family breadwinner, this could force your spouse to accept a less than fair support settlement out of financial desperation.

How it backfires:

If the agreement you have entered into is temporary, your spouse's retroactive claims for further support may still be live. This means any final court order could make you pay a higher amount of support retroactively if they are seen to be earning less.

"Sadly, it doesn't end there," said Tyas. "There are many more tactics that spouses use to punish their partners. Ultimately they will backfire if a judge sees them as punitive to your spouse and they could end up costing you money, your home, and in more serious cases, liberal access and custody of your children. Also remember that court documents are public record which could affect your reputation and employment."

About the Family Law Group at Devry Smith Frank LLP:

The Family Law Group at Devry Smith Frank LLP consists of seven experienced lawyers who have represented clients before every level of court from Ontario Court of Justice to the Supreme Court of Canada. They devote extra energy to helping kids in difficult circumstances and have advocated the protection of children in several ground breaking court decisions and cases. Devry's family law lawyers are also experts in complex financial matters. Their law offices are conveniently located in the Lawrence and Don Mills area of Toronto and they are the largest firm outside of the downtown core.

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