In some states, mandated Automatic Temporary Restraining Orders(called “ATROs,” for short) prevent either party from changing the financial status quo of the marriage once a divorce action begins. But, automatic protections like this are not the law in every state, so check with your divorce attorney about the specifics of your case and what you need to do to maintain access to family funds.
By denying his wife access to financial resources, a husband can leave his wife without the money necessary to buy groceries, much less hire the right divorce team to represent her . . . all while he hires an excellent team to represent him.
This is especially problematic for abused womenwho live in constant fear of harm—to themselves and/or their children.
Hiding assets during a divorce is sneaky, unethical, illegal –and quite common. Be on the lookout for certain telltale signs that your husband has some dirty tricks up his sleeve. He could be stashing money in a safe deposit box (or elsewhere), underreporting income on tax returns and/or financial statements, overpaying the IRS or creditors (so he can get a refund after the divorce is settled), deferring salary, delaying new contracts and/or holding commissions or bonuses . . . the list goes on and on.
Fail to pay court-ordered support or refuse to relinquish assets
If your husband doesn’t follow court orders, he’s breaking the law, and he’s forcing you to try to extract the promised payments --at considerable legal cost. What’s more, all this financial and legal wrangling is terribly time-consuming. Some women put their jobs in jeopardy because they have to take so much time off to deal with these issues. Making matters worse still, many family courts do a poor job enforcing such orders, even when a woman follows its requirements to the letter, and unfortunately, even for a well-meaning judge, deception on the part of an ex-husband can be difficult to decipher or prove.
Divorcing women need to understand the full range of tactics some husbands use, and they need to be proactive –not reactive --as they work to secure the best possible divorce settlement. Because there are so many different dirty tricks, I recommend that women maintain their own emergency fund in a separate bank account, even if divorce has never entered their minds.
If you are contemplating divorce, make sure you start organizing your personal finances and important documentsunder the guidance of a qualified divorce financial planner. During the divorce, you’ll need to Think Financially, Not Emotionally®so you can keep your finances intact while planning for a secure financial future.
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Jeffrey A. Landers, CDFA™ is a Divorce Financial Strategist™ and the founder of Bedrock Divorce Advisors, LLC (http://www.BedrockDivorce.com) a firm that exclusively advises affluent women throughout the United States before, during and after divorce. He assists women and their divorce attorneys with deciding on the most advantageous way to divide marital assets and enable them to negotiate more favorable settlements, especially when there are complicated financial and tax issues.