Trust is difficult to build and very easy to lose. It is also something missing from many divorcing couples. Under these circumstances, many people feel as though there is no hope of working out a solution to the various issues related to the divorce without going to court.
However, there are steps you can take to protect yourself (and your future) from a dishonest ex, even during mediation.
Keep your own records
Property division is one area that can become very thorny when you have a deceitful or unreliable ex. He or she may try to hide assets, lie about things like bonuses or promotions or take property without permission.
Because of this, it is crucial that you keep accurate financial records. This includes bank statements, pay stubs, credit card receipts and a list of monthly bills. You might also consider taking pictures of your personal property and hiring a financial professional to examine your assets.
Get everything in writing
Talking may be good in some situations, but when it comes to divorce, it is important that you get things in writing. Make sure you have enforceable custody agreements or spousal support promises in writing. Keep emails or text exchanges between you and your ex, especially any that include threats against you or others.
If your ex lies about things you have said or done, it is important that you cover your bases if you are ever going to be face-to-face. For example, if you have to go to his or her house to pick up some belongings, bring someone with you who can act as a witness if need be.
Work with an attorney
Leaving anything up to chance when it comes to divorce is generally unwise, especially when a deceitful ex is involved. He or she might try to lie to you, intimidate you or misrepresent themselves to cheat you out of a fair, enforceable agreement. Because of this, it will be crucial that you have by your side an attorney who can spot bad behaviors or information and help you protect your rights and the settlement you deserve.
Whether you are going to court or working through mediation, being prepared and taking steps to protect yourself is crucial when you cannot trust your ex.