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Money: the root of all evil, or the route to the divorce court?

The passage of time changes people in many different ways. While some couples grow closer together, others may grow apart. For some California residents, it can be difficult to decide whether changes that they witness in their spouses' behavior may be leading to the divorce court.

One California woman had been married for 20 years, during which time she believed that her relationship with her husband was stable, built on an understanding of their respective roles. The husband had a successful career and he repeatedly insisted that his income was sufficient to provide a good life for the family and a comfortable retirement. He travelled regularly for business and did not enjoy taking care of children or doing general household chores, so he had suggested early on in their relationship that his wife should be a stay-at-home mother. The couple had four children, two of whom had finished college, and the other two were due to start college.

When the husband suddenly began making regular donations to an overseas church with which he had no affiliation or relationship, the wife began to become very concerned. With eight years still remaining on their mortgage, no college fund for the two youngest children and increasing debts due to the husband's borrowing that was financing the church donations, the husband's lackadaisical and careless attitude toward the family finances were becoming more worrisome day by day. After four years of this behavior, the family was several hundred thousand dollars in debt, with the husband making claims that these donations were to bless his ancestors and his business dealings.

These actions could be indicative of a variety of situations. At best, it may be that the husband has been suckered into an elaborate scam; however, at worst, it could potentially be an attempt to conceal or move assets prior to starting a divorce action. Whatever the circumstances, seeking advice sooner rather than later may help to minimize the severe financial damage that California residents might experience at the hands of less scrupulous individuals.

Source:, "The Moneyologist: My husband is spending our life savings on a secretive church", Quentin Fottrell, 4 May, 2017

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