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Marilyn Stowe

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Top 10 Dirty Divorce Tricks

Posted: 07/09/2011 9:20 am

Divorce is an emotional rollercoaster, and when people are really hurting, particularly if they have been "swapped" for somebody else, self-preservation becomes all-important. For some, however, this state of mind can lead to an all-consuming desire for vengeance.

After more than 25 years as a divorce attorney, little surprises me. Drawing upon my own experiences over the years, here are examples of the worst kinds of divorce tricks I have encountered. I wish to stress that none of them are recommended--in fact, some are illegal!

Hiding money or assets for a "rainy day"
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Many people know that they are going to get divorced long before proceedings are set in motion. Some decide to take pre-emptive action. I recall one case in which a couple ran a small neighborhood store. After the wife filed for divorce, my firm discovered that the husband had been leading a double life. In addition to that small neighborhood store, he had an extensive portfolio of properties and owned several supermarkets! The wife had apparently known nothing of this.

Others do what they can to hide their money. Wealthy people do this by shipping it offshore into untraceable bank accounts, owned via a warren of trusts and companies channelled through several countries. Those on more modest incomes do it by depositing funds in the bank accounts of relatives.

The most extreme case I have come across was that of a spouse who had placed almost everything the couple had into an untouchable, offshore trust. He then began to borrow against all the rest of the non-trust assets onshore. Fortunately his wife became wise to his ploy. She was able to obtain an order to freeze his assets worldwide, and put a stop to it.
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