When you are married, utilizing petty cash can solve a lot of problems. Minor purchases, such as a trip to grab fast food or a bag of chips from the local convenience store, do not show up on your credit card, and thus, do not have to undergo any type of microscope.
However, when the divorce process begins and each and every financial transaction, including each trip to the ATM, is analyzed and questioned, this can put a halt on the next time you want a cheap cheeseburger.
These minor financial transactions that you may pay for in cash or using your credit card are some of the smaller purchases you may no longer be able to make during the divorce experience. As difficult as it may be, it may be in your legal and financial best interests to press the pause button on that late-night taco run.
Through all of the challenges that the divorce experience may present, you need a family law attorney that you can trust. They need to be able to put your needs first and understand the ins and outs of your unique situation, in order to position you for the best future possible.
Tracking your spending
This means keeping track of your spending. Before a divorce is initiated, many find spending habits to be at the center of marital conflict. In fact, according to a study by the financial services corporation, Ameriprise, 31 percent of all couples, including happy ones, clashed over their finances at least once a month. For many, more specifically one in 10 percent, their spouse may be considered a financial bully.
If you consider yourself to be in this type of situation, you know how it feels to have a spouse who looks down on the small, inconsequential purchases you may make during the course of a given week or month. They do not make a major impact on the financial situation, but you may face the wrath of a less-than-understanding spouse who refuses to see them for what they are.
This can build up over time, and when the divorce process begins, the continuance of these seemingly innocuous purchases can lend credence to an opposing argument regarding your wealth. They may use this trend as proof that you are hiding finances away from the marriage or state that you are squandering marital assets, in an effort to lower the value when the assets are divided.
The accusation of marital waste can be thrown around fairly frequently when marital finances area at stake. Many times, it is when fidelity is in question and a spouse is spending money on someone outside of the marriage. Other times, it has to do with the intentional squandering of money on lavish and unnecessary purchases.
However, any claims regarding marital waste must be substantiated. These minor purchases, such as fast food or an energy drink from the gas station, will not constitute as financial transactions that are squandering the marital finances, so that your soon-to-be ex-spouse will receive nothing in the divorce.
Against your character
One of the more worrisome aspects of the way a court may view these types of transactions is if they see it as proof that you are incapable of responsible financial management. While that may not result in you receiving a higher alimony payment or child support payment, it still sets a negative character trait against you, which can be used to establish other negative personality traits.
You never want to be thought of as irresponsible in any context, and in a court room, that established character trait may harm you when issues of child custody arise. The argument may be that you are unable to make responsible spending decisions, so therefore, you cannot be trusted to make responsible parenting decisions.
While you would hope that a family court would see through that false dichotomy, the gender stereotypes that pervade the family court system make it difficult to rely on common sense prevailing.
Relying on your attorney
This is why it is so vital to partner with a family law attorney who understands the unique needs of men and fathers and how the family law system can sometimes treat their cases. They understand the importance of a father in the life of a child, and they will work with you to make sure that your place in your child’s life is respected.
They understand that just because you may make minor, frequent purchases, it does not necessarily mean that you are financially irresponsible. They will be able to establish that and refute any unsubstantiated claim that damages your character.
Dan Pearce is an Online Editor for Lexicon, focusing on subjects related to the legal services of customers, Cordell & Cordell and Cordell Planning Partners. He has written countless pieces on MensDivorce.com, detailing the plight of men and fathers going through the divorce experience, as well as the issues seniors and their families experience throughout the estate planning journey on ElderCareLaw.com. Mr. Pearce has managed websites and helped create content, such as the Men’s Divorce Newsletter and the YouTube series, “Men’s Divorce Countdown.” He also has been a contributor on both the Men’s Divorce Podcast and ElderTalk with TuckerAllen.
Mr. Pearce assisted in fostering a Cordell Planning Partners practice area specific for Veterans, as they deal with the intricacies of their benefits while planning for the future. He also helped create the Cordell Planning Partners Resource Guide and the Cordell Planning Partners Guide to Alternative Residence Options, specific for seniors with questions regarding their needs and living arrangements.