Divorce, even when the spouses are both in agreement, is a difficult experience. There are many decisions to be made and major issues to be resolved. One issue that often results in disagreement is the division of assets.
It isn’t uncommon for a spouse to try to hide assets in preparation for a divorce. Many do this to protect themselves. Some do it out of spite. Divorce can bring out the worst in a person. It is therefore important not to go into a divorce trusting that your spouse will be forthcoming. You should be on the lookout for signs that they may be hiding assets from you.
Signs that your spouse may be hiding assets
Being secretive about their finances
Is your spouse being secretive about their finances? Do they deny you access to joint bank accounts or account information? Have they recently changed account information such as passwords and are not forthcoming with this information? A spouse that is secretive about finances is more likely to conceal assets during a divorce. You deserve to know about your current financial situation just as much as your spouse does. You have a legal right to access joint accounts at all times throughout the divorce process.
Wanting to be in control of the finances
Does your spouse want complete control over the finances? This is a big red flag, especially if they deny you access to the accounts. They may change the passwords to accounts without your knowledge, change mailing address or stop you from receiving financial statements. They may do this in order to divert funds to separate accounts.
Complaining about finances
If your spouse suddenly begins complaining about finances, a major debt, failed investments or a drop in business, they may be trying to trick you. They may be overstating the financial hardships in order to skew the divorce settlement in their favor.
Spending large sums of money
This is a sign that is often overlooked. Your spouse may give the impression that they want to impress their new boyfriend or girlfriend by spending large sums of money on gifts. However, they are truly purchasing items that they can sell after the divorce for profit to recoup their money. This is a more subtle way to hide assets.
Making unknown payments
Has your spouse started making payments to unknown accounts? Your spouse may even claim that they are paying off a debt that you didn’t know about, e.g. to friends or family members. Some people make agreements with friends and family members to hold the money for them until after the divorce is finalized.
Loss of financial records
Each spouse is meant to submit records relating to their finances and other assets during a divorce. If a spouse is hiding some assets, they may claim that their financial records were lost or destroyed. For example, your spouse may claim that their digital files were corrupted and the information deleted.
If you’re preparing for a divorce, be on the lookout for any of the signs outlined above. You may otherwise end up with the shorter end of the stick. Hire an experienced divorce attorney to help ensure your rights are protected throughout the divorce process.