Is Your State a Hotbed for Gold Diggers?

Look out for gold diggers

Many years after his first wife died of cancer, Jack, a successful orthopedist in Phoenix, married Kristin. After being alone for so long, Jack was overjoyed to have a new beginning with this intelligent, charming woman.

But Kristin had her own secret plans. She knew she landed a good catch who had worked hard his whole life to build a profitable medical practice. She wanted a chunk of the gold – fast.

At Kristin’s insistence, the couple purchased an expensive new house and a shiny yellow convertible.

They never celebrated an anniversary

Just nine months after their lavish wedding, Jack was astonished when Kristin filed for divorce. They lived in Arizona, which is one of the community property states where the courts generally split all marital assets evenly between the divorcing couple, unless they signed a pre-nuptial agreement (and Jack and Kristin didn’t).

Kristin manipulated her unsuspecting husband by establishing a relationship of trust and ensuring that they lived in the right place at the right time. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

Robbery by divorce

After less than a year of marriage, Kristin, who had virtually no money in the bank, legally robbed Jack by divorce. She was entitled to half of the spacious house, her car, and part of Jack’s considerable income that he earned during that period.

Entitlement to his assets

Worse, Kristin genuinely believed she was entitled to the spoils of their brief marriage because, as she herself said, she had “no marketable skills.”

No one understood why Kristin’s own personal failure to become financially independent before she married Jack was a justification for grabbing the fruits of his labor after a millisecond of matrimony.

It was many years before Jack recovered, both financially and emotionally.

I was surprised to hear he married for a third time. I know nothing about his legal arrangements with Wife #3.

Jack is now deceased and I feel it’s inappropriate for me to ask his widow.

Where you live should depend on more than just the weather

Many personal factors help us decide where we pitch our tent and call home. Before you say “I do,” make a mental note that if you pick Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin for your home state, you may be choosing to say “you can have half of my stuff” if you divorce.

The current law in those states generally requires that cash and assets  you and your spouse accumulate during your marriage (except for gifts and inheritances) will be divvied up evenly if you later split. And you may also share your marital debts.

Because the law varies in all states, it’s wise to get legal advice from an attorney in your new home state before you settle down or move.

Live in a community property state without losing your shirt

You may be able to avoid the “losers split all” outcome in one of these community property states if you sign a pre-nuptial agreement that overrides the state laws. Consider signing a post-nuptial agreement if you relocate later in your marriage.

Are there more potential gold diggers hanging out in those nine states, just waiting for unsuspecting potential spouses to shack up?

Is it a coincidence that at least one of those states (California) has been a hotbed of Gold Rush activity? Hmmmm.

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Related posts:

The Gold Digger Who Would Murder for Money
Too Much Power in Your Power of Attorney?

Image © iStock.com/deki4ns

Comments

  1. I never plan on getting a divorce … we’ve been together for 49 years. But I had no idea about this.

    • Joan, congrats to you on your marital longevity! There are precious few people in the world who have been happily married to each other for nearly half a century.

      My dad was so proud that he had 2 happy marriages for a total of 62 years.

      There are other schemes you are probably not aware of either. For example, to qualify for certain retirement or government benefits, you have to be married at least 10 years. I’ve heard of someone who secretly decided to end their marriage, but stuck it out until just after a decade so they could collect their soon-to-be-ex-spouse’s Social Security or other benefits.

      There’s all kinds of conniving people in this world. Glad you are not married to one!!!

  2. My X, wife at the time, talked me into moving out of GA and moving into to AZ. That was one of the worst decisions I ever made. $13,000 in legal fees later I was able to avoid being ruined by joint debt we, mostly she, racked up. Guess spending $13k is better than getting stuck with $30k of debt. Wish I knew AZ was a hotbed for gold diggers.

    • MCS, I’m sorry that this happened to you. At least you were able to get out without losing everything. It’s certainly possible that your ex-wife didn’t know that Arizona is a community property state and wasn’t motivated by greed to move there. In this story, the wife knew exactly what she was doing.

  3. I honestly did not know of any of this. It was a good read. Well, I did something stupid by having an affair with a 35 year old woman married to a 65 year old guy. It’s interesting because I just read about your additional comment about staying married for 10 years than divorce to get benefits. It’s interesting because she is married with the guy almost 10 years now. Another thing to add about to make this all more messed up is. One of my friends(who is also married with a child) from work has also had an affair with her around same time. Well she had a daughter shortly after that and had been behaving well now from what I hear. Now her daughter is about 2 years old. She has been claiming that is her husband’s. And her husband and family all have been believing her. But the thing is she is of Southeast Asian decent and her husband white, but the child has no mixed resemblance at all. Her daughter looks 100% Asian, dark black hair, skin tone and everything. Not sure who the father is because my friend and I are both Asian. The whole situation is messed up. I recently came out and claimed that the child was not his but she denies everything and says claims that I am harassing her. This situation is going to get ugly. Not sure what to do.

    • Hi Samuel, gosh this sounds like such a difficult situation. You might want to talk to a lawyer if she is throwing around harassment claims and you sense that it’s going to get worse. I hope things turn out OK for you. Thanks for sharing your story.