Colleen Sheehy Orme
My Husband Was Hiding Money Colleen Sheehy Orme


How I discovered his pre-divorce plan

Photo by Lukas from Pexels

My husband almost got away with it.

If he just hadn’t been quite so greedy.

I would have been none the wiser.

But year four of my divorce there is a knock at the door.

It seems the IRS makes house calls. Who knew?

I’m not gonna lie. It is traumatic. Burst into tears traumatic.

I’m a rule follower. The intersection of Catholic school and my mother guaranteed that.

My saltwater antics somewhat terrorize the IRS caseworker. And he does his best to calm me down.

He explains my husband has neglected to pay a year of taxes.

The year in question is several years prior to my retaining an attorney.

I ask the IRS caseworker to go back ten years and provide me with the gross and adjusted gross for our business. The marketer in me needs to connect the dots.

And as president of our company, I am entitled to this information.

His answers lead to the disposing of an overly trusting, innocent, and severely naive girl.

An outraged woman casts aside this idealistic virgin.

I will never be the same.

IRS history illustrates a jolting forensic map.

I can trace years of deceit.

I alternate between feeling stupid, foolish and angry.

I am not mad at my husband. I am mad at myself.

I have spent years singularly attempting to rescue a marriage at the expense of my entire being. The once ‘love of my life’ lying next to me while cheating and lying his way through our finances.

One spouse committing their entire self to the marriage. The other spouse setting himself up in case it ends.

My husband never anticipated the IRS knocking on my door.

Throughout our marital woes, he told me the business had suffered a financial collapse. He told me that all of our savings and retirement was gone.

However, the facts tell an entirely different story.

The business makes more money than ever during the supposed ‘time of the collapse.’

And the dubious year he didn’t file or pay taxes?

The year we went to see a divorce mediator and sold an investment property. Thus, increasing our income to a divorce disadvantage.

I immediately request seven years of our business bank account records. There are large counter withdrawals and an abundance of large checks payable to my husband.

No longer naive I dig for more.

My husband discontinues his life insurance that same year. Disturbingly, he keeps paying a policy on me for many more years. He stops filing our corporation with the state. He fails to file business tax returns after I retain an attorney. And much more.

And then I have a revelation.

One which seems nearly impossible to believe.

Within months of our marital problems my husband claimed we were living beyond our means. And he took over paying the bills.

I was baffled. We were aggressive savers, no longer used credit cards, and paid down a mortgage on an investment property.

I knew he wasn’t accurate but it never occurred to me he was devising a plan. Instead, I calculated our net worth to prove my fiscal responsibility and handed him the bills.

But here is where the red flags enter.

From this point on things financially no longer made sense in our marriage.

I found a P.O. Box key he couldn’t explain. He refused to pay off the only credit card debt we had from temporarily charging furniture for rental properties.

I finally told him to take money out of our savings to pay it off. He informed me that all of our savings and retirement was gone.

I told him I would never have rifled through all of our money without his knowledge.

He got extremely angry and said, “That was MY money!”

There were so many red flags — it all made sense in hindsight.

But one would assume your college sweetheart not capable of these things.

I called a few divorced women in his business and we shared the same story.

Husbands who said they were broke and their income severely reduced. They claimed they lived beyond their means for years and their wives were big spenders. And what marriage could survive that financial collapse?

My husband almost got away with it.

And sure, financially speaking he did, but morally he did not.

I now know the truth.

If only he had divorced me sooner.

But he refused to hire an attorney until our youngest graduated high school. The ultimate greed — avoiding child support.

It sounds unbelievable but I bought into all of his lies.

I thought his mismanagement of our money and accompanying bad behavior was a mid-life crisis.

Until that knock at the door.



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