Reviewing Credit Card Records in the Divorce Process

What to look for when reviewing credit card records as part of the divorce process

Credit card records often are voluminous. Just the thought of having to review them all can be daunting. However, as any experienced divorce lawyer will tell you, a careful analysis of these records often will reveal charges that appear benign, but upon more detailed analysis, lead to evidence of wasteful spending, infidelity, or schemes to transfer money to organizations or individuals outside the marital relationship.

Legal (or sometimes illegal) businesses operating on the fringe of society (e.g., “gentlemen’s” clubs, escort services, massage parlors, casinos and the like) often will appear on bank or credit card records not as “Joe’s Strip Joint,” but as JSJ Enterprises, or some other seemingly innocuous name. When reviewing credit card records, look for charges that occur regularly or multiple charges within the same day or within a short time frame, and pay close attention to the payee’s name and location. For instance, if there are airfare charges to Las Vegas, or hotel/rental car charges, examine the charges around those dates to determine if they might have some significance beyond the identity of the payee. Credit card records are fertile sources of information, and almost always lead to additional areas of inquiry.