My friend Karen looked shell shocked. Her jade green eyes had dark circles under them. Her hands shook as she drank her coffee.
Bob had told her he was leaving. Said he didn’t love her anymore, hadn’t loved her for years. He’d met another woman he believed could make him happy. “The kids are grown. I’m not willing to carry on the charade anymore.”
“I’ve been at his side for 25 years,” Karen sobbed. “ I was faithful, I raised the kids, I played by the rules. Why would he do this to me?”
I suggested to Karen that she hire a divorce attorney. She had none of the financial records or their tax returns, which she had dutifully signed year after year, without asking questions or keeping copies. She had never met their accountant. Bob did all that. She didn’t know what to do, where to start, what to ask about.
Knowing Bob, he’d planned this move carefully. Maybe he even started a decade earlier when Inc. Magazine published an article called ‘Divorce Proofing Your Company’ in which company owners learn how to legally protect a company’s assets in case of divorce.
Karen is a modern well-educated college graduate. She is active in charity fundraisers, coordinating the activities of dozens of volunteers. Every event she plans runs smoothly and makes money for her cause.
While I’m concerned about Karen, and furious with Bob, what makes my blood boil is that she didn’t have to be in this situation. She could have asked questions about why they were refinancing the house a third time. She could have learned what it was she was signing when Bob said “Sign here honey.” She might even have realized that Bob was manipulating the company books, moving money between different accounts and devaluing stock. All apparently legal and above board in California which is a community property state.
There are millions of Karens out there, at all income levels. If you know one, refer her to my book and possibly, save her life.