The Dirty Trick of Engaging in Spousal Starving During a Texas Divorce

One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “can I get my spouse to pay for the divorce.” We have even written an article on that topic that I will include a link to at the bottom of this post. In that article, we discussed that depending on the facts it may be possible to get your spouse to pay for your legal fees. However, generally it will cost you money up front to get to that point in the case. On top of that, the hearing where a judge may make orders regarding temporary spousal support could be 30-60 days away from the time the divorce is filed.

In order to aid our readers regarding the above problem, we have written a couple articles:

  1. that provide ideas and suggestions on how to pay for a Texas divorce and
  2. tips on preparing for the divorce 

I mention those prior articles because the readers of today's blog topic “spousal starving” can also benefit from reading those prior articles.

What is Spousal Starving?

I often caution my divorce consults to prepare for a frequently employed dirty trick used by vindictive and controlling exes, “spousal starving.” This tactic can be used by wealthy couples or couples with modest incomes. “Spousal Starving” refers to when one spouse cuts off financial access to the other spouse.

This can include:

  1. emptying the joint bank account
  2. removing the other spouse from a joint credit card, or
  3. refusing to pay bills or buy groceries, knowing the other spouse has no access to cash
  4. Cancelling vital services or utilities

A spouse can use this to put their ex at a disadvantage during a divorce. The goal is to get the other spouse in financial position where they out desperation will accept an unfair settlement. This is more likely to happen if the starved spouse has no source of income or family member who can help them. When I encounter spouses in this type of relationship they want to know how they will pay for:

  1. bills
  2. food
  3. take care of their children
  4. let alone hire our services

The other awful part of spousal starving is that while you have no or little access to financial resources. Often your ex has plenty of funds to retain a Texas divorce lawyer at their disposal.

What Can I do if My Ex is Engaging in Spousal Starving?

Unfortunately, once spousal starving has begun, in the short term there is not a lot that can be done. I often feel for these individuals and let them know that their spouse’s tactics will not be looked upon favorably once we are in front of a judge. Once you are in front a judge it will be possible to request spousal support and child support. However, getting there takes money and time. This future help is often hard for someone to appreciate when they are worried about getting through today.

One of the best solutions is if you are able to  borrow money from:

  1. parents or other family members; alternatively
  2. you may be able take out loans or start charging things on a credit card

What Proactive Steps Can I take Now Prior to a Divorce?

One of the first things I encourage clients and potential clients do include:

  1. Having a separate account which your spouse cannot empty
  2. If you believe a divorce is coming to put half of any joint account money into that separate bank account.
  3. Have or open credit cards that your spouse does not have access to
  4. If you cannot afford a Texas divorce lawyer and you have children, you can get help through the attorney general to get child support going. Unfortunately, this process can take a long time and ultimately when you get a divorce that divorce may cost more because of the prior order.
  5. Have copies ready of all financial paperwork. This will help your attorney to get you support once you are in front of a judge.
  6. Make a list of all known assets, liabilities, bank accounts, real estate, business interest, and retirement accounts.
  7. Monitor your credit regularly
  8. Get a secure mailing address which your spouse does not have access to
  9. Change passwords immediately to all your personal accounts (do not leave your spouse without access to funds)
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Other Articles you may be interested in:

  1. How Can I Get My Spouse to Pay My Attorney's Fees in a Texas Divorce?
  2. How am I going to Pay for My Texas Divorce?
  3. Should I Hide Money from my Spouse to Get Ready for my Texas Divorce?
  4. 7 Important Ways to Financially Prepare for Your Texas Divorce
  5. 6 Tips - On How to prepare for a Texas Divorce
  6. Roadmap of Basic Divorce Procedure in Texas
  7. What are the Steps of a Contested Texas Divorce, and How can I Prepare for Them?
  8. Can I get child support while my Texas divorce is pending?
  9. 6 Mistakes that can Destroy Your Texas Divorce Case
  10. 6 things You Need to Know Before You File for Divorce in Texas

Law Office of Bryan Fagan | Spring Divorce Lawyers

The Law Office of Bryan Fagan routinely handles matters that affect children and families. If you have questions regarding divorce, it's important to speak with one of our Spring, TX Divorce Lawyers right away to protect your rights.

Our divorce lawyers in Spring TX are skilled at listening to your goals during this trying process and developing a strategy to meet those goals. Contact Law Office of Bryan Fagan by calling (281) 810-9760 or submit your contact information in our online form. The Law Office of Bryan Fagan handles Divorce cases in Spring, Texas, Cypress, Spring, Klein, Humble, Kingwood, Tomball, The Woodlands, the FM 1960 area, or surrounding areas, including Harris County, Montgomery County, Liberty County, Chambers County, Galveston County, Brazoria County, Fort Bend County and Waller County.

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Spring Divorce Attorney
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Houston, TX 77068
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