How to Secretly Plan a Divorce Without Your Spouse Knowing

By:
Michael Tierney
Updated
June 8, 2022

While many would love to avoid it entirely, it is sometimes in your best interest to seek a divorce. However, we also know that navigating divorce can be particularly tricky if your spouse is unwilling to let go of the relationship, even more so if your spouse is prone to reacting aggressively when the topic of divorce is broached. This hostility often leads to many seeking divorce tools behind their spouse's back. In these cases, it should never be a point of shame to want to look into your options.

Filing for divorce should not be done impulsively if only to save yourself from unnecessary legal costs.

Solution However, if you genuinely fear reprisal for wanting to divorce a spouse you can no longer bear to be married to, you might have to plan in secret. It will be challenging to gather the resources necessary to plan your divorce without your spouse becoming aware of it.

This article should provide you with all the knowledge to plan your divorce discreetly. However, it is possible to do so with the proper disposition and determination. If you are having trouble figuring out how to secetely file for divorce without an altercation, there are a few key details to consider making the correct decision.

Consult With a Divorce Attorney

Setting up a meeting with an attorney without your spouse knowing is simpler than you might think. This step might seem obvious, but some put off a consultation with an attorney until the last minute. Doing so could seriously disrupt your plan as you will be unaware of what sort of case you have. It would be best if you were sure to make the appointment with a device your spouse cannot monitor or delete the call record. Doing so will enable you to make your appointment with your spouse none the wiser.

Consult With an Attorney

You may also want to consider how you'll pay for your attorney's fees should you choose to retain their services.

Solution Suppose you do not want your spouse to be aware of the attorney until the paperwork is served. In that case, you will want to pay your attorney with cash or a check - when you use a credit card associated with a joint account or where your spouse will be able to see the transaction history will be an immediate giveaway.

Fortunately, if you are only consulting to evaluate your case, you will not be charged since most attorneys offer free consultations to begin.

There is also no risk of an attorney alerting your spouse as client-attorney privilege prevents them from disclosing your visit. Therefore, the only caution involved is making sure you do not demonstrate shifty behavior or leave any clues about who you will see. If you can do that, your visits to a divorce attorney will surprise your spouse when the papers are served. However, consulting with an attorney is not enough if you want to retain the element of surprise.

Having an attorney on retainer can be beneficial beyond this as well, especially if your spouse refuses to sign the divorce paperwork and forces a contested divorce case.

Open a Separate Bank Account

Relating to the earlier note about not leaving a financial trail for your spouse to follow, you will want to consider opening a new bank account. Opening a brand-new account under your name without your spouse having access is simple. You need only walk into the bank of your choice with the necessary opening funds and create a new account.

Open a Separate Bank Account

However, it would help if you were confident that the only one able to access the account is you. You will also need to take care when trying to go to the bank, as alerting your spouse to where you are going might set off a red flag.

Solution Opening the account will enable you to create a fund for when the divorce is finalized, and to help you start a new beginning. However, it can also serve as the account you use to pay for the associated fees from your attorney and any other necessary transactions to process the divorce.

This source of independent funds is critical to ensuring a smooth transition from married life to divorced life, but you must ensure that the funds you use are yours. Money earned from your job or given explicitly to you is fine. Attempting to use your spouse's money to fund the account will cause you legal trouble in the long run.

Once you have your new bank account, you will need to consider another vital detail—its address.

Acquire an Alternate Mailing Address

This step is where things become a little more complicated. Opening a new bank account and retaining the services of an attorney means they will mail bills and paperwork to you frequently. Having letters about a hidden bank account or statements from a divorce attorney showing up in a shared mailbox will have your spouse on red alert. So, having a backup address for those notices to be sent to will help you keep things under wraps until you are ready to move forward - this is especially true if your spouse is the sort to relieve you of the burden of opening your mail.

Solution Options exist for having important correspondence sent to an address different from your home. Ordinarily, the most common option involves renting out a P.O. box where your mail can be sent and reviewed without anyone else accessing it - this ensures a double layer of privacy since P.O. boxes are overseen by the post office you rent through.

Walking into the nearest United States Postal Service office will allow you to discuss renting out a P.O. box through one of the clerks on duty. However, if you cannot sustain a long-term investment in a P.O. box, there is another option.

Opening a PO Box

If you happen to have family or a very close friend you can trust to keep their silence on the matter, you might consider asking to borrow their mailbox. You could open the bank account or have your attorney bills sent to that friend or family member's address to ensure your spouse never lays eyes on your correspondence. It also allows you to secure someone willing to corroborate any alibis you might need to justify your outings during the divorce process.

Once you have your alternate mailing address, the only real task is squaring away the information found at home. Some information can prove helpful to a case, but you will find that the opposite is just as valid.

Avoid Social Media and Messages

Divorce court is the type of legal proceeding in which the things you say to your spouse become relevant. In certain circumstances, all information posted on social media or via interpersonal communications with your spouse could be admissible in court. Social media is commonly used as evidence of misconduct on a spouse that could turn the divorce in your favor. If you are trying to keep things quiet, you will want to avoid using social media as an outlet for the stresses of divorce.

Avoid Social Media

People often turn to social media for support from friends and family and are led to believe they are safe, thanks to privacy settings. However, nothing on social media stays buried for long, and posts you make could easily be found by your spouse through mutual friends or simple investigation when the divorce is underway. Certain things you will want to avoid are:

  • Discussions that mention any of the previously mentioned tactics.
  • Negatively posting about your spouse.
  • Discussions that show that you've reached out to your attorney's office representatives.

The divorce proceedings will often use social media posts or text messages discussing hidden assets or infidelity to sway things in favor of one party.

Solution These discussions can alert your spouse to your plans, but they could also be admissible in court against you.

So, while you could quickly try to find such evidence for yourself on your spouse's accounts, you would also do well to begin removing any posts that might harm your case from your own. Otherwise, you might be surprised when the divorce reaches negotiations in court.

There is one last thing that does need to be considered. However, we do hope the situation does not apply to your situation.

Is Your Spouse Abusive?

Domestic abuse is an unfortunately common cause of divorce in the United States - it is known to account for 25% of all divorce cases. It can also be a significant reason you are probably trying to prepare for your divorce discreetly. If you are trying to divorce an abusive spouse, you likely fear reprisal if you comment on divorce around them. It is probably best that you are pursuing a divorce without their knowledge. However, if you want to be truly free, this abuse should be factored into the divorce proceedings if at all possible.

Solution Simple abuse allegations will not be enough to ensure an ideal resolution of your divorce. You will need to gather any evidence that you can find to help corroborate your claims of abuse to the judge overseeing your case.

This process can be a part of the social media aspect we discussed previously, as any posts your spouse might have made about abusing you could be permissible for your side of the claim.

Is Your Spouse Abusive

However, it would help if you collected as much evidence as possible to help you prepare for the divorce, though not to the extent that you are risking yourself to do so. For example, if your spouse actively threatens you regularly, using your cell phone to record the threats could prove an excellent way to reveal the abuse allegations and secure an ideal divorce agreement (that is, if you live in a one-party consent state).

Domestic abuse is a horrific offense that often leaves the victim fearing for their lives. Additionally, obtaining copies of any police reports you might have filed against your spouse for abuse is viable. We know the odds of you having filed such a report might not be great, and there is no shame in that. However, if you ever did contact the authorities about the abuse, the police records could be submitted as proof of why the divorce is in your best interest. Obtaining a copy behind your spouse's back should be relatively simple, but your attorney can assist with this particular aspect.

Once you have made these preparations, you should find your divorce procedure ready to begin. All while your spouse is blissfully unaware of your efforts.

Solution Important: If you are in fear of your safety, please call 911.

Please review the following resources that can help you with your domestic violence situation:

Learn the Law

Planning a divorce behind your spouse's back is far from simple. It will require you to be deceptive and able to make appointments with an attorney and banks discreetly. However, you can accomplish it with patience. Preparing for divorce in secret is a more common occurrence than most people realize, but it is more common for those planning to divorce a spouse who risks their safety.

Learn The Law

While we hope this is not true for you, we recognize you might be dealing with a precarious situation. Divorce is a serious decision and should not be made unless you are entirely sure you can no longer bear to be bound to your spouse. An essential tool for successfully planning your divorce is knowledge.

Divorce law is both unpleasant and highly complex. The only way to fully comprehend its many details and regulations is to undergo legal education like the lawyer you would retain. However, understanding the concepts vital to you can be accomplished without formal education - this is not to say that any research will turn you into an expert on divorce law. Still, a bit of browsing will give you the information needed to understand its effects on you.

We believe that spreading that knowledge is crucial to ensuring that everyone seeking a divorce is fully informed. Knowledge is the ultimate weapon to ensuring you can free yourself from a poor marriage.

Do you have any questions for us on how to plan a divorce without your spouse knowing? Have you run into any roadblocks, and have you already consulted with an attorney? Please share with us in the comments section to get a constructive conversation started between everyone involved in this situation!

Written By:
Michael Tierney
Michael is a legal writer and graduate of WSU. Prior to becoming a legal writer, he had 6 years of experience as a legal assistant and office manager for a family law attorney. He's written about numerous legal subjects from helping spouses who are stuck in toxic situations to the intricacies of custody battles. In his spare time, he enjoys hiking, rock climbing, and building custom keyboards.

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