Divorce is fraught with fear. People go from trusting each other to feeling like they don’t know each other once the divorce conversation takes place. Then they start either misreading each other, or drawing inaccurate conclusions about the way their spouse may want to approach anything from the financial discussion that is a necessary part of divorce, to the children.
People definitely lie about the amount of money they make so that they don’t have to pay as much in child or spousal support.
People lie on their income tax forms, knowingly, both spouses, and then when the divorce takes place, it becomes disadvantageous to keep the income tax lie going for child or spousal support purposes. Feta compleat. The income tax reports are where the court would start in assessing income vs support. I was at a family law conference some years ago and listened to a presentation from several Judges who said just that, that there is no wiggle room in interpreting the incomes, expenses, and financial reporting on an income tax report.
People hide assets, and sometimes debts. Any good forensic accountant or attorney, or a spouse who knows how to perform research can unravel some hidden assets. It’s easier than one may think with the power of the Internet to unravel false statements about assets and debts. A forensic accountant colleague of mine busted a huge financial scheme by the opposing party by simply using Google maps to verify addresses of supposed banks and financial institutions.
The worst thing you can do is lie. Do not think that you can pull one over on your spouse or the attorneys. Smart legal professionals, and your spouse, will figure out the scope of deceit. Forensic accountants can be hired to sort out the layers of details to show the real value of assets and debts. It’s a no-win situation to lie. If you’re the higher earning spouse, you can always make more money.
Lying also causes health issues. When we lie, our heart rate and blood pressure rise, and we have increased levels of stress hormones. We get sick when we live a life of lying. We were meant to live lives of truth, expressing ourselves authentically, and being vulnerable enough to tell the truth about how we feel and think.
Most importantly, don’t lie about your feelings. When people can be honest about the way they feel, why they entered the marriage, how they viewed their role in the marriage, and why they want a divorce, how they view divorce and their role in the divorce, the division of assets, the co-parenting….all of these conversations can take place honestly. It’s the healthiest thing to do. Honesty will remove an emotional burden that is stressing you out mentally, emotionally, and physically.
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But here are some other honesty pitfalls that people stumble into that I want to help you avoid so that your divorce can be as amicable as possible:
Do not look at dividing assets and debts as soon as the decision to divorce is made.
- Understand that there are two divorces: The Emotional Divorce and the Legal Divorce (Explain)
- When entering the Legal Divorce get legal advice so that you understand how the laws of your state work.
- Do not look at dividing assets and debts as a Battle, as something wrong if your spouse wants to divide them.
- Understand that neither spouse is going to change who they are while making financial decisions, but the way we analyze each other’s behavior is sometimes unrealistic. An example would be that one spouse has an inconsistent work history, and the reason why the divorce is taking place is because of that. Do not be shocked if that spouse wants spousal support/alimony or wants to divide assets. It’s an absolute waste of time to be angry. Perhaps the anger is to cover up your choice in marrying someone who didn’t at that time, nor during the marriage, provide the financial contribution that you did. Don’t get mad; just don’t marry the next person if financial ability is important.
If the divorce is taking place because one spouse feels like they’ve always been in the dark about the finances of the family, you’ll experience a learning curve about the family’s assets and debts. Do not worry that you don’t know about investments your spouse may have made. It all comes out in the Discovery portion of the divorce.
If the lying comes out in regards to the co-parenting and custody portion of the divorce, that’s worse than the financial dishonesty. Parental Alienation comes into play. The ability of a parent to properly take care of the children as a single parent is under scrutiny. Substance abuse becomes an issue. Having other girlfriends and boyfriends is an issue in the safety or the children. People lie about having other partners.
Divorce should be a clearing house process in which each spouse gets to redefine themselves. They have to redefine themselves. But you can only do that if you’re honest with yourself and your spouse.
- If you’re the higher earning spouse, talk about why you don’t want to divide your pension based on whatever it was that generated the divorce.
- Spousal Support/Alimony is the absolute hardest part of the divorce. (Explain)
- If your spouse is dominant, the alpha spouse, this is your opportunity, if you’re the more submissive spouse, to change that dynamic, now that you hopefully have legal professionals involved. (Maya and Andrej)
- If you are the one who lies, who feels the need to hide assets, know that this is a no-win game and that you will lose even more than you would have if you were honest about what you have.
- If you have a problem sharing, divorce will force you to share.