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Woman claims soon-to-be-ex spent $850,000 to earn mistress commission

Boston shoppers who patronize the fancy department store Neiman Marcus (even if it's just to look, rather than to buy) know that the luxury goods retailer is famous for its generous return policy. But that return policy is not good enough for one woman, who is angry that Neiman Marcus won't let her return about $1.4 million in gifts from her soon-to-be-ex-husband.

The woman, who is in the process of getting a divorce, believes that her husband purchased the items for her from a store employee with whom he was having an affair. She feels that he purchased the items not to make her happy, but to earn the employee a generous commission.

This woman has sued Neiman Marcus over the issue and although her lawsuit is against the store and not against her husband, it is worth considering from a family law and divorce perspective, too. The woman claims that her husband went from spending about $100,000 per year at Neiman Marcus before he began having the affair to spending around $850,000 after the affair began. She says she did not know about the spending. In other words, what we have here is an issue in which one spouse's dramatic spending was kept secret from the other and, obviously, that kind of spending can seriously deteriorate one's financial condition, especially when you must go through the process of dividing up martial assets (like cash-on-hand) into separate assets.

We do not know if this lawsuit will be successful, but it seems to be a move on the part of the woman to recoup money that she did not know was being spent. If that's the case, than this lawsuit could be seen by some as a creative and unorthodox means of making sure she doesn't bear the brunt of her husband's financial irresponsibility. Obviously, there are other, more traditional ways to preserve your financial integrity during a divorce. A consultation with an attorney can help pinpoint what some of those strategies may be.

Source: The Associated Press, "Neiman Marcus Divorce: Woman Sues Neiman Marcus For Fraud in Love Triangle," May 31, 2012

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