Susan and Bob have been married for 15 years. They live in a beautiful neighborhood, on a cul-de-sac with 5 other homes. Bob has a terrific job, earning $250,000 each year. Susan does volunteer work for the community, but doesn’t bring home an income. She has never needed to work. They are friends with everyone on their street and always appear to be very happy. What the neighbors don’t know….nor have they ever suspected….is that Susan and Bob can barely keep themselves financially afloat. In fact, this month, Susan has had to borrow money from her parents to pay the mortgage, and the minimum due on the credit cards, which are quickly being maxed out.
How did this happen? Bob has an addiction. He’s a gambler. It started with lotteries. That was fun! Then he joined the neighborhood poker group, and that was even more fun! But he needed more. Luckily for him, a casino moved into his town, and Bob started heading over there during lunches from work, and then stopping there after work before he went home. The casino had an ATM inside, so getting cash out every day was easy. And then getting advances on his credit cards was easy to do, also. Susan never had to pay the bills, or open the credit card statements or bank statements, so this went on for quite a while…
Until Bob couldn’t use his credit cards anymore because they were at the limit. And until the credit card companies filed lawsuits against Bob! Finally, Bob had to tell Susan. She gave him an ultimatum…gamble again, and we are through. But, of course, Bob did gamble again. This is a destructive addiction, and Susan left him as promised and filed for divorce.
Susan, in her divorce, had her attorney do a full accounting of exactly how much money Bob secretly lost in gambling, and then she demanded 1/2 of this amount under the premise of Financial Misconduct. Susan felt humiliated and didn’t even want to see her neighbors anymore. She was so embarrassed.
What Susan didn’t know, however, is that Jane and Paul who lived next door and appeared to be the sweetest and most loving couple that Susan knew also had a dark secret. Jane was a QVC shopper. Oh, not just a once in a while shopper, when Paul left the house to go to work, Jane would sit in front of the TV all day, watching QVC (and then Evine as well) holding her phone and her credit card. She was racking up debt every day, and every week. Paul was beside himself. He tried to get her into counseling. He cut up credit cards, and he disconnected the internet service in the home. Paul’s efforts, while noble, just didn’t work.
Jane had an addiction to shopping. She had ways around this, including her cell phone (she hung out at Starbucks and used their wi-fi when hers was out), and she applied for more and more credit cards, which she received at a post office box. Paul finally felt that he had no choice. For the financial future of his family, he went to an attorney near the courthouse of his town and also filed for a divorce. His attorney, also, did a full accounting of Jane’s spending, and demanded ½ of everything she spent, on the premise of Financial Misconduct.
Sometimes the fancy trappings of a beautiful home, in a lovely neighborhood, hide major dysfunction inside. You are not alone. The attorneys at Joseph & Joseph & Hanna, Co. LPA stand ready to assist you.
Also check out some of our more indepth Articles