When a divorce threatens to put someone in a compromising situation, they often resort to lying. And if you know that your spouse isn’t being truthful, it puts you in a frustrating situation where you have to make quick decisions on what to say and do.
What Do People Lie About in Divorces?
As sure as there are people, lies will be told. And in an emotional situation where the stakes are this high, it doesn’t take much for someone to shape the details of a story or control a narrative so that it benefits them. People will lie about anything and everything in a divorce, including:
- Income. It’s unlikely that someone who is a W-2 employee will lie about their income. However, if your spouse is self-employed and/or has sources of unregulated income (like cash payments or cryptocurrency payments), they may try to stretch the truth and minimize the amount they actually make.
- Value of assets. In a typical divorce, all of the couple’s joint and individual assets are accounted for and valued. Spouses will often lie about the assets they own and how much they’re worth. For example, a woman might fail to include several diamond bracelets that she knows her husband probably won’t remember. Or a husband might conveniently leave out a few pieces of sports memorabilia he has in his office.
- Child custody/parenting issues. When children are involved, people will do things that they might not otherwise think about doing. Common mistruths include lies about your involvement with your children; lies about parent-child bonding; and even false allegations about child abuse and neglect.
- Domestic violence. Some people will stoop to lying about domestic violence. This can happen in both directions – i.e. a spouse making false accusations against you, or a spouse denying their role in a domestic violence situation. These lies can range from physical abuse to verbal abuse (or even sexual abuse).
- Fidelity. While fidelity doesn’t typically influence how the courts view a divorce, it can be used to create a narrative in discussions and negotiations. Spouses will often make false allegations about a cheating spouse and/or deny infidelity when it did take place.
These are just several examples. In reality, spouses can and will lie about anything to put themselves in a more favorable position. You have to be on your guard against these mistruths.
What to Do if Your Spouse is Lying
It doesn’t take much to know that your spouse is lying. In some cases, you know without a shadow of a doubt. Other times, you can just sense it by the way they’re talking or acting. Either way, here’s what you do:
From the moment you suspect that your marriage might be headed for a divorce, you should begin gathering evidence. This may include physical evidence, pictures, SMS threads, email correspondence, search engine history, statements from others, bank statements, and anything else that could be important.
Tip-Off Your Attorney
As soon as you notice your spouse lying (or conveniently trying to redirect the truth), tip-off your attorney and let your legal team know. A good attorney won’t be surprised. Instead, they’ll jump into action.
“I’ve seen everything in divorce proceedings, including spouses who refuse to speak the truth, so I’m never really surprised when I hear a lie,” says divorce attorney Rowdy G. Williams. “The good thing is that I know what the judge is going to ask the spouse for ahead of time. So if my client keys me in on something, I can gather the appropriate evidence, document it for the court, and prepare questions or rebuttals to carefully deconstruct what they’re saying and get back to the truth.”
Sometimes an attorney will be able to spot a lie on their own, but other times they’re dependent on you to speak up and alert them. Then they can take it from there. Don’t remain silent!
Speak the Truth
Finally, avoid the temptation to return a lie for a lie. While it’s tempting to start lying in order to get even, this is a recipe for disaster. Only speak the truth and trust that your lawyer will take care of the rest. You want to put yourself above reproach.
Put Yourself Out There
A divorce is emotionally draining and physically exhausting. But now is not the time to throw in the towel. If your spouse is lying, you owe it to yourself and your family to speak up and set the record straight. Work with your attorney to make sure no stone is left unturned.
I’m a single mother of 2 living in Utah writing about startups, business, marketing, entrepreneurship, and health. I also write for Inc, Score, Manta, and Newsblaze