Reader Brooke, a divorce Attorney in New York, shares this word of caution to those of you who have ever thought about exaggerating the truth with regards to income on a credit card application. She has also generously agreed to answer any questions presented in the comments section of this post.
I practiced as a divorce attorney in New York for many years. The majority of my clients or their ex-spouses were not straight W2 employees, but rather business owners, employees of family businesses, or worked for organizations where much of the income was off the books and could be manipulated by fancy accounting and inflated expenses/deductions. Thus, their true income was actually much higher than that reflected on their tax returns and presented to the Court, their ex-spouse, and opposing counsel during the divorce action. Not only were they trying to defraud the government and pay less taxes, but they were looking to pay significantly less in spousal and child support.
There are many methods utilized by attorneys to circumvent this problem in an effort to prove true income. I will not bore all of you non-legal travel lovers out there with all of the details, but what I will say is that during this process, I would often Subpoena the person’s credit card applications to see what they alleged to have earned when applying for credit cards throughout the marriage. More often than not, they inflated this number to gain approval for a card, and we (and the Courts) held them to this figure that they listed and signed off on during the application. This data supplied concrete evidence for the Court that the spouse earned more than they reported and assisted us in receiving higher settlements. This could be exploited by a greedy ex-spouse in an effort to prove to the Court that you are admitting to earning an amount that is actually higher than that you earn. Believe me, an ex-spouse is nearly always claiming their spouse earns more than they do. Thus, the moral of the story is this: beware of what you put on those credit card applications, it can and will be held against you during legal proceedings!