Beliefnet
How Great Thou Part

It’s no secret some men have historically gone to great lengths to leave their wives with either little to no money.

It happens to strong and capable women who are guilty of just one thing – not believing the person they married would ever be capable of it.

You could say these women made themselves financially susceptible by staying at home to raise their children. And this would be true. However, lots of women make the very same choice and do not end up in this situation. Therefore, this is a tale less of a woman’s vulnerability and more of a certain type of man’s true weakness.

The tactics are as old as the legal system which supports it.

Hugely successful individuals suddenly say they have suffered a huge financial crisis, are making less or nearly nothing, have lost their jobs or declared bankruptcy. Leading this pack are the self-employed individuals who can alter more of their earnings.

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It’s hard to discern why the court system hasn’t cracked this easily deciphered code.

Clearly, aside from custody, these are the cases which monopolize the judicial calendar.

And what are they about? They are about control and money. 

And what is the net result? The individual goes to court claims they have no money or job and it works.

Hence, to detract from such unethical abuse wouldn’t it make more sense to alter the law? If it can be proven there are patterns of financial abuse the spouse would then have to pay more support. It seems logical. If these are cases where money is being used as a weapon it needs to be disarmed. And if money is that important to one spouse they would go to such extraordinary means to leave another spouse with less than the threat of potentially having to pay more support could derail a tired tactic which has been wildly permitted for far too long.

And if ever there was a time to do so it is now.

Why?

Because a band of brothers has added a plot twist to this already disturbing classic. 

They have contrived a way of making their individual poverty more believable. And at the same time making their spouse the fall girl AND further compromising her financially.

HERE’S HOW IT WORKS:

Claim individual financial distress via lowered income, lost job, or bankruptcy – TRIED AND TRUE – CHECK

Stop paying certain bills to prove financial distress – TOTALLY BELIEVABLE  – CHECK

Optional but solid for the strategy, take out credit cards or loans in wife’s name  – TOO MUCH SPENDING – CHECK

Start spreading the word socially, business is bad, huge financial collapse – SETTING UP THE STORY – CHECK

Get a PO Box for all hidden financial dealings – NO ONE WILL KNOW – CHECK

Then the Piece de Resistance…

File for divorce claiming all savings and retirement is gone because the wife is a big spender and you have lived beyond your means for many years. What marriage could survive such a financial collapse? Clearly, the divorce is an unfortunate by-product of financial strain.

Quite good storytelling if it wasn’t all so troubling.

What’s worse is it is hard to tell if this began with and is still isolated to a certain group of men who hatched the tactic or if it is spreading.

The good news – It’s possible to prove fraud on the credit cards and loans and other forgeries. And with good financial record keeping the fact there was historically no history of financial strain or living beyond means or individually being a big spender.

The not so good news – These credit cards and loans are taken out without the knowledge of the wife so the wife may or may not know they exist if they aren’t involved in regular finances or periodically running their credit reports.

The bad news – It can be difficult to find savings or retirement if it was being siphoned for too long which is entirely possible with individuals who are calculated and manipulative enough to carry out a strategy such as this.

The really bad news –  Credit has been ruined which further destroys financially any ability to get credit card limits large enough to meet any major expenses or unexpected emergencies or qualify for housing. Therefore potentially leaving the unsuspecting spouse with little to no savings, alimony or credit. A huge financial conundrum.

The really really bad news – Men who do this get away with it first and foremost because they have crafted such a devious story but more importantly because they will ruin their own credit to achieve their objective. Thus leaving the court pondering is this individual devious or dysfunctional?

But all good stories have great endings.

The strings that tie up the loose ends bringing it all together.

Somehow these financially devastated men are magically restored post-divorce.

They have both the time and money to travel, resume all their regular expenditures and buy cars when strangely they couldn’t afford to keep the repo man at bay in divorce. They seem oddly lighthearted about bad credit and not at all weighed down by the burden of having no retirement money. And for men with such burdensome financial troubles and poor earnings, they remain in their seemingly floundering industry with no complaints. Housing doesn’t seem to be an issue either.

This is a frightening tactic because there is divorcing someone and then there is destroying someone.

In any other court of law, a person who takes out credit in another person’s name forges another person’s name or hides assets would be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Unfortunately, nearly anything goes in divorce court. Partially because the laws are antiquated, partially because the courts are overwhelmed with these types of cases, partially because a judge has little to no time to distinguish which party is telling the truth, partially because the self-employed can abuse this process and not get caught, and partially because people who are willing to be this manipulative are quite frankly good at it.

But mostly, because this type of emotional and financial abuse has been permitted in divorce for too long.

It’s not rocket science.

It’s the same old story.

Let’s rewrite it.

Follow me on Facebook @Colleen Orme National Columnist

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E-mail: Colleen.Sheehy.Orme@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

 

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