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Divorce Question

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Please don't quote as I will likely delete some things.  Somebody I know is going through a divorce.  They are both American citizens, although he holds dual-citizenship with another country.  When divorce was filed, standing orders were issued that included things like maintaining insurance, not making large purchases, etc. 

Wife just found out that husband transferred out every single dollar they have to a friend of a friend in Jordan.  We're talking hundreds of thousands of dollars.  Husband then said he was off to visit his family and has not been heard from since.  There are multiple children left at home.  She was a SAHM and has been the entirety of their marriage as far as I know. 

I thought that $10K was the magic number that triggered all sorts of alarms/questions.  I know that's the case for gifts and such.  

I would have thought that our country wouldn't be OK with some guy sending hundreds of thousands to a random person in Jordan without a little due diligence.  There was none. Apparently, I was wrong.

It now appears that in addition to being financially destitute, she may be liable for taxes on this money as well.  There were also potentially considerable fees on the money transfer, etc.

Her attorney has told her in the unlikely event he comes back, he will be charged with contempt of court....but basically that's a slap on the wrist, and nothing will happen to him. 

What advice would you give her?

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1. Keep a good lawyer and follow all advice.

2. Start from scratch. Emotionally write him off, unload whatever baggage needs to be unloaded, and assume that nothing good, right, or just will come out in her favour. Get a student loan, train for a reasonable mid-level job, secure low cost childcare and healthcare, get on whatever subsidies and programs are possible, ask for help and accept charity. She is the victim of theft of cash, years, and pieces of her very self. It’s deep and grevious, but the thief is gone. Cry, and start over.

Edited to add 3. Never, ever let her children out of the country. To any destination. For any reason. Forever.

Edited by bolt.
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Get a good lawyer.

Secure the kids' passports immediately. He's done a terrible thing, but at the end of the day, it's only money. Thank goodness he didn't try to take the kids as well.

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(I don’t mean that she should give up on trying to get her money back — just that she shouldn’t hang any hopes on the fairly-remote possibility that she will be successful.)

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3 minutes ago, MinivanMom said:

Get a good lawyer.

Secure the kids' passports immediately. He's done a terrible thing, but at the end of the day, it's only money. Thank goodness he didn't try to take the kids as well.

Yes. This is sound advice.

eta: In the midst of everything else it might seem impossible, but I'd think about counseling for the kids. Depending on their ages, they might be more or less aware of what's happening, and reactions could come out in all sorts of ways. But mainly, make sure they're safe.

Edited by Innisfree
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I also think a good divorce attorney would be able to refer her to a good tax attorney. She likely needs professional help to deal with any potential issues involving taxes and penalties.

What a terrible situation.

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She definitely needs a good attorney.....seems like I have heard of something like an ‘innocent spouse’ clause where the IRS won’t hold her responsible for taxes on money he stole from the family. Maybe someone knows the details of that. 

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Definitely find a tax attorney. Since he did the transfer of cash after they were in the process of legally divorcing and already had a court ruling on the family finances, chances are the lawyer can make an excellent case that she is not responsible for the taxes.

 

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