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Dirty Tricks Spouses Play


Although I am a father and child advocate, I would like to make it very clear that anyone who uses the tactics listed below, including men, should realize the harm that comes to your children, your ex-partner, and ultimately, yourself.  

Although most attorneys will tell you that the laws governing parental responsibilities (custody) are now equal, in most states, this is far from the truth. Statistics demonstrate that if a mother contests or is unwilling to give the father equal custody and overnights, 90% of the time the mother wins. This inadequacy in the family legal system and the willingness of attorneys to abuse it causes many problems for the families. Since the courts often look the other way, some mothers may resort to the tactics listed below (and I have seen men be just as manipulative, selfish, and vengeful during the divorce process). With that in mind...


If your ex-partner is angry enough, she may discover some of the dirty tricks that are commonly used today to assure success in a divorce or custody dispute. If she succeeds, you stand a good chance of losing: property and assets you have worked hard to obtain, some or all of your basic rights as a father, and your ability to protect your child’s interests and rights as well. And if that's not bad enough, the stress that this can create is often more than one can bear.  

I have seen this happen to so many good fathers. It is absolutely tragic and very real for those who experience it, especially the children who can no longer see their dads. These are not the “dead-beat dads” that you read about (which are actually far fewer than the claims made by the press). Most of them are regular guys like you and me who love their kids, pay their child support on time, and treat their children well. The injustice that allows for this to happen is a very unfortunate fault of the legal system and those who take advantage of it.

Listen to what this judge has to say about it…

"American fathers are led down a primrose path every day in our family courts, often with disastrous legal results. They wind up in the Land of Gender Bias, where they are systematically stripped of their rights, often without the slightest idea of why it is happening to them.

"If you think the mother-father disparity is outrageous, consider the sexual abuse syndrome, and how it affects visitation and custody disputes. Here, the judicial impotence and chronic blindness to men's rights would appall you.

"Courts are supposed to approach cases of child custody, support payments, and visitation rights in what we call a gender-neutral posture. It sounds fair, and it is fair. But it is a myth. Judges are not enforcing these gender laws fairly, and few seem to care.

"We will see more of these problems until fathers organize to demand fairer treatment. So get it together dads: You have a legitimate legal beef and you need to make this a public issue. Right now the courts don't hear you."

      Judge Judy Sheindlin, author of Don't Pee  on My Leg  andTell Me It's Raining

Here are some of the dirty tricks commonly used by parents today:

  • Clean out the bank account or safety deposit box.

  • Max out the credit cards.

  • Steal the furniture and run off with the cash.

  • Falsely claim physical abuse.

  • Falsely claim physical or sexual abuse towards your children.

  • Get a restraining order against you based on false allegations.

  • Leave with the kids unannounced and no forwarding.

  • Use financial issues to gain leverage with custody or child-centered issues.

  • File a petition to keep you out of your own home.

  • Spread nasty lies and badmouth you in front of mutual friends.

  • Move out of state and take your child, claiming that it is in the "best interest of the child," even when the real motive is revenge.

  • Withhold or interfere with your visitation rights.

  • Turn your children against you through lies and distortion.

  • File motions and use delay tactics to tie you up in court and drain your finances.

  • Force you to move out of the house through harassment and coercion, and then petition the court                                claiming you have “abandoned your family."

  • Claim that child support was not received on time or at all.

  • Involve others in malicious actions against you.

  • Deny you telephone access with your child.

  • Interfere with your participating in your child’s school and other recreational activities.

  • Use your mutual or, unsuspecting “friends” to get inside information to use against you in court or even turn them into unwitting spies.

  • Withhold important information about your child’s health or well-being.

The tactics above are used all the time to frustrate, outmaneuver, gain legal control, and wear fathers down.

Women learn how to use these tactics through friends, books that are written specifically for this purpose by other women (who have won in court using these tactics), and surprisingly, by attorneys. In fact, it is becoming more commonplace for some attorneys to recommend one or more of the above tactics to their clients because it gives them an almost certain victory in court. If your ex-partner can convince the courts that you have physically abused her or your child, she gains a tremendous advantage over you in all further proceedings. You will be known as a “violent offender,” a person judges despise, and they will not hesitate to grant her whatever she wants.

Even if you fight these charges and win, word still gets around and people often believe what they hear, whether true or untrue. This is why I continue to emphasize how important it is to do everything you can to play it cool with your ex-partner. One wrong move may cause her to use any of the above tricks either to attack or defend. Once aggression goes beyond the verbal level the situation can spiral downward quickly and much will be lost.

No one is immune from these tactics. My ex tried some of these tricks in our custody dispute, always in the “child's best interest,” of course. Fortunately, I was well prepared and the law worked in my favor – justice prevailed. But nothing can make up for the emotional distress that my son and I experienced or the legal fees it cost us to protect our rights. I say “us” because our standard of living and his emotional well-being was affected during my custody battle and so he suffered also.

The attorneys and the women who take advantage of the legal system have all gone to great lengths to gain the necessary skills to make it work in their favor (in spite of the harmful effects to the children). Usually, they can only get away with this if you, the father, lack the knowledge to avoid the common mistakes and pitfalls that can bring tremendous loss to you and your children.



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