Divorce was my first experience with any kind of legal issue that required testifying “under oath.” I took the “under oath” part seriously. My ex, on the other hand, had a slippery relationship with the truth and was more than willing to lie in divorce court.
On more than one occasion, I sat in court, slack-jawed in amazement at the lies that spilled forth from his mouth. For example, his second wife owned a lot of property when they married. Bless her heart; she added his name to half of her property which meant he was an owner of the acreage along with her. He had assets that could be sold to pay child support which contradicted his claims in his court petition. “I’m broke!!”
When he petitioned the court to lower child support due to retiring, I did a property search and took copies of the county records to court. When asked in court, “under oath,” if he was the owner of any of the property he and his wife lived on, he said, “no.” It was a straight-up lie to the courts about an asset that was in his name.
He lied in divorce court because he thought he could get away with it.
He lied because he hadn’t counted on me being knowledgeable enough to do a property search. He lied because a lie was the only thing he had going for him.
People lie in court for several reasons, and it leaves those of us who wouldn’t wondering why or what the gain is.
Below are 9 reasons your ex may choose to lie in divorce court.
Some people walk out of divorce court winners based on lies they’ve told. If they don’t have the truth on their side, a lie will do. For some, it’s about winning at any cost. They throw their character and values out the window and go for the nearest lie.
To Protect Themselves:
This one is pretty simple to understand. If you’ve been seen driving drunk with your children in the car, the only defense you have is a lie. If you hit your spouse over the head with an ashtray, lying about it may seem to gain you more ground than admitting to domestic abuse. A lie, for some, is better than admitting to their bad behavior.
This one can go deeper and be rooted in psychological issues. If a person feels threatened, they go into self-protection mode.
If there is a perceived threat i.e., loss of income, loss of child custody, loss of hearth and home, they may feel the only way to protect themselves is to lie.
To Cover Up Problems With Addiction:
Few judges will award joint custody to someone who has a proven problem with addiction. If the evidence against a person is only hearsay, a lie can get the addict out of a sticky situation.
To Alienate the Other Parent:
It isn’t uncommon for someone to use the legal system to attempt to put distance between the children and the other parent. A false allegation of child abuse is an example of one lie told by parents in child custody cases.
To Hide an Affair:
With no-fault divorce laws, infidelity rarely plays a role in divorce court unless the spouse having the affair has used marital assets on the affair partner. If a spouse spends $10,000 in marital assets on their affair partner, the courts will order that money repaid. Some feel it is worth a lie if it means not having to pay back for the fun they’ve had.
To Hide Assets:
For most of us, there aren’t enough marital assets to hide. For some, though, lying about assets could save millions in a divorce. Money before ethics is the rule of thumb for some wealthy divorce court litigants.
To Hide a Secret Lifestyle:
Though it is not common, there are those who are living a secret life that one of their spouses isn’t aware of but may come out in divorce court. Bigamy, homosexuality, and serial cheating are all “secret” lifestyles that can reflect badly upon a divorce litigant.
To Avoid Criticism:
These are usually “face-saving” lies. For example, a man who views himself as a good guy but leaves his wife and children for another woman may come up with, “I had no choice, her behavior drove me away.” We all know he had a choice, we all know that her behavior had little to do with him having an affair. He has to lie to save face and, in his mind, remain the “good guy.”
They are Addicted to Lying:
My grandmother had a saying, “He would lie if the truth would help him.” Some people are liars, they wouldn’t know the truth if it “slapped them in the face.” They create conflict where there is none and are easy to see through when they lie in divorce court.
I tried to hold myself to high standards during my divorce. For me, I had to be honest in a situation where lying could mean life-long negative repercussions. The one rule I encourage readers to follow is, even if you have something to say that will make you look bad, being honest about it, owning it, and taking responsibility for it will be far more impressive to a family court judge than being caught in a lie.
In my past life, I was a licensed Marital and Family Therapist. Although I’m still licensed, at this time, I’m not practicing. I divorced in my early 30s, remarried at 37 and gave birth to my first child at 38 and my second at 40. These days I’m a stay-at-home Mom enjoying my role as mother, wife, and homemaker.
When my children are school age I will return to the profession I love. Until then, I’m happy for the opportunity to write and hopefully help those who read my articles.