According to The New York Times, Volkswagen began installing software devised to cheat on emissions tests in 2008 after realizing that a new diesel engine developed at great expense could not meet pollution standards in the United States and other countries. Rather than stop production of the engine, managers decided to cheat.[1]

Volkswagen’s incoming chairman says the emissions scandal could pose an “existence threatening” crisis for the company. The German car maker must present a plan to fix some 2.8 million vehicles in its home market.[2]

Ferdinand Piech, the grandson of Ferdinand Porsche and a powerful member of the Porsche clan, presided over the culture that allowed the defeat devices to be installed. [3]

The issue of fraud is not just present in emissions testing of motor vehicles. It unfortunately occurs in family law. The intentional misrepresentation of facts in financial matters is known to occur.  When it does, however, the results are not dissimilar to what has happened to Volkswagen.  Trust is lost.  Betrayal causes added expense and the end result is the loss of time and money.

When there is a lack of trust, verification is required. This is experienced in family law through the utilization of forensic accounting.  It is not cheap.

Honesty and fair dealing are not simply aspirational concepts.  They are the very foundational concepts upon which our legal system is built. It would have cost Volkswagen a lot less to deal with the problem of its diesel engine in a transparent manner. Transparency is key to resolving financial issues in divorce litigation.

by Patrick Gaffney

by Patrick Gaffney

[1] Ewing, J. (October 4, 2015). Volkswagen Engine-Rigging Scheme Said to Have Begun in 2008. The New York Times.  Retrieved from

[2] Woodyard, C. (October 5, 2015). Top VW exec warns emissions crisis could kill company. USA Today. Retrieved from

[3] Auerbach, D. (October 1, 2015). Volkswagen’s Villains. Slate Magazine. Retrieved at