As a divorce attorney, I'm in the unique position of regularly consulting with individuals who are planning to file for divorce or who have just been served by their spouse with notice of a divorce suit. Their stories have made me aware of the way people often act when they are secretly preparing to file for divorce. In this article, I discuss five of the common red flags I've seen when a spouse is preparing to file for divorce.
Your Spouse is Suddenly More Interested in the Children's Lives
As counter-intuitive as it may seem, this type of behavior if you have a troubled marriage is a red flag that your spouse is preparing for divorce. A major part of divorce is determining with whom the children will primarily live. When deciding this, courts often look at how involved a parent is in their children's lives. For this reason, divorce attorneys, including myself, will often tell their clients to become more involved in their children's lives. This means attending parent-teacher meetings, going to extra-curricular events, helping with homework and getting ready for school, doing fun things with the kids on the weekends, knowing the kids' grades and the kids' teacher's names and just overall doing anything to strengthen the bond between the parent and child. If your spouse is suddenly a super-parent, especially if most of the super-parenting excludes you, then your spouse may likely be preparing for divorce. Also, really watch out if the super-parenting is always around other people. Your spouse can be cultivating these people as witnesses for trial.
You Have Less Access to Financial Records
This is usually a red flag that your spouse is preparing for divorce. In a divorce case, information is power. The side with better financial records has an easier time proving or concealing the truth about how much they own and owe. You should be on the lookout for: (1) changed passwords for online bank accounts; (2) missing hard copies of mortgage statements, bank statements, wire transfers slips and other financial records, especially if the copies aren't in their "usual" place; and (3) a suddenly missing safety deposit box key. These could all be the results of your spouse trying to hoard access to financial records in preparation for divorce. Keep in mind that most of the information your spouse may try to hoard can be discovered, but the cost to you in terms of attorney's fees will be much greater than if you already had the records.
Your Money Moves Differently
For most of us, our money moves in a routine way, usually from our employers to our checking accounts, and then to pay our bills and to our savings accounts. If you have a troubled marriage and the usual movement of your money changes, this is a red flag that your spouse is preparing for divorce. What's the most common change in how money moves prior to divorce? I repeatedly see spouses prepare for divorce by no longer depositing their salary into a joint account. If your spouse moves their earnings and savings from a joint account into an account to which you have zero access, no matter the excuse your spouse may give, you should prepare for a divorce. You should also lookout for large cash gifts or very friendly loans from your spouse to your spouse's family and friends. This is a common tactic for hiding money during a divorce. It's not very effective, but it is a good indicator of your spouse's intentions.
Your Spouse is Suddenly Better Behaved
Again, as counter-intuitive as it may seem, this type of behavior if you have a troubled marriage is a red flag that your spouse is preparing for divorce. More specifically, it's a red flag that your spouse has been coached by a divorce attorney. Your spouse's change in behavior will usually be sudden. One day you and your spouse are having another screaming match about something, and then a few days later, your spouse is calmly talking to you about the same exact thing. Your spouse has probably been coached. One of the first things I tell my divorce clients is to behave. That means no screaming, no cursing, no threatening, no excessive drinking and always use polite but firm language. It means not losing your temper when other people are around. It also means no posting inappropriate statements or photos on social media. In a divorce case, I always want my client to come off as the reasonable person in the marriage. Every divorce attorney wants that.
Your Spouse Records Your Fights
It may seem annoying or petty, but it is a red flag that your spouse is preparing for divorce. Audio and video recordings can be great evidence during a divorce trial. This is especially the case if the recording is of the other spouse screaming, cursing or otherwise acting badly. A tactic used by some spouses when preparing for a divorce is to rile up the other spouse and then record the other spouse screaming or saying something terrible. With cell phones, this tactic has become much easier and more common.
If you believe your spouse is preparing to file for a divorce and you need assistance, contact Sugar Land divorce attorney Chikeersha Puvvada at 832-317-6705 or online today to schedule a free 30 minute consultation.