One of the many reasons spouses tend to avoid litigated divorces is the fact that these trials go on public record. All kinds of things may be revealed by litigation, including allegations of marital misconduct, child abuse, domestic violence, substance abuse, and so on. But these trials may also reveal alleged instances of financial misconduct, such as fraud. In some cases, a divorce filing can even reveal that the entire marriage was simply a sham designed to mislead tax authorities. 

Couple Accused of Misleading Chinese and Canadian Authorities

In August of 2023, it was revealed that a divorce filing in British Columbia, Canada had led to serious allegations of fraud. These concerns were made clear by the judge, who presided over the case in the Supreme Court of British Columbia. The trial took place in Vancouver, and the judge provided a lengthy preface before ruling on the property division.

According to this judge, both spouses continuously failed to provide detailed information and seemed intent on misleading the court at every turn. The judge described this as “extremely challenging.” Not only that, but all of the witnesses were forced to testify through interpreters due to their complete lack of English skills. 

Despite these challenges, a basic picture of the situation emerged during the trial. After meeting in 2016, both spouses engaged in a “marriage-like relationship” in 2017 before separating in 2018. Both parties had previously married and divorced in China, and both had children from these prior marriages. While one spouse was a naturalized citizen, the other entered on a tourist visa in 2016. Somewhat suspiciously, they were introduced to each other by an immigration consultant. 

The judge finally concluded that the entire marital and financial relationship was essentially a sham. Not only was it a so-called “green card marriage” that misled Canadian immigration authorities, but it also misled Chinese currency regulators. The judge expressed the opinion that at least one of the respondent’s divorces in China was essentially fake and that these divorced spouses continued to engage in a financial relationship long after their marriage was over. Specifically, the divorcee in China continued to lend their ex “vast sums of money” while never demanding repayment. This was after the ex decided to give up all of his property in China and simply hand it over to the spouse who remained in China. 

On the other hand, the spouse who arrived on a tourist visa claimed to be penniless upon arrival, but the judge seriously doubted this claim. Almost immediately after he came to Canada, he received an endless stream of cash gifts from his relatives back in China. The judge concluded that this was more of a commercial arrangement rather than a genuine marriage. 

The judge then determined that the breakdown of the marriage seemed to be the result of some kind of contract dispute. Nevertheless, the court moved forward and ordered the division of the family home and a jewelry collection while denying spousal support. It is unclear whether these spouses will face criminal consequences for alleged fraud.