"Trial Separation"

Spouse #1 "I still love you, but we need a trial separation or I’ll have to divorce you immediately. Meanwhile, you go stay at the YMCA and leave me here in the home with the kids."
Spouse #2 "I love you too. For the sake of our marriage, I’ll do whatever it takes."

Several months later, Spouse #1 serves Spouse #2 with a Petition for Dissolution, seeking sole physical custody of the children and occupancy of the homestead. Spouse #1 argues that Spouse #2 "abandoned" them.

This one happens a lot – very sad and cruel.

"Forget What the Papers Say, I’ll Do This or That"

Dupe signs the papers, and you know what happens next. There are various manifestations of this dirty trick, such as:

  • "Sign the papers giving me sole physical custody. You know I’ll let you see the kids whenever you want."
  • "Give me custody this year, and then I’ll let you have custody when the child starts school (or substitute some such future event or time frame)."
  • "Sign the papers withholding X amount of child support from your pay. I know it’s too high, but I’ll refund the difference."

Remember, "the papers" are always controlling. Your verbal side-agreements are totally unenforceable.

"Oh By the Way, Kid #3 Isn’t Yours."

This one is rare, but happens. At the time of divorce, the father learns for the first time that one or more of the children he thought were his in fact were sired by his best friend, neighbor, co-worker, or some guy he’s never heard of from the local pub. Sometimes this can cause problems obtaining custody, because if the real father obtains a paternity order, a major legal obstacle is created. Now the husband-father must either try to obtain custody of only his own biological children, which is unlikely given the strong case law against splitting up siblings, or he must try to get custody of all of the children, including those not his own, which is extra difficult when you’re not the father.