Is My Spouse Hiding Assets During Our Divorce?
Many people worry about how they will handle financial challenges after their divorce. Going down to one income can feel incredibly daunting, especially if your spouse has always provided the primary source of income for your family. You want to make sure you take as many of your assets as possible out of the divorce.
Unfortunately, if your spouse starts hiding or moving assets, it could make it very difficult for you to prove what assets you have–and you could end up receiving less in your divorce than you think you should. Is your spouse hiding assets? Consider these key signs.
1. You have suddenly lost access to information about your accounts.
Your bank account statements have suddenly stopped arriving in the mail, or you no longer have access to your online banking information. Credit card statements or investment statements no longer seem to arrive when they once did. You may find that your spouse doesn’t want to provide you with information about your accounts, including the balance due on certain loans or the amount of money in specific accounts. The more difficult your spouse makes it to access that information, the greater the likelihood that your spouse has chosen to hide assets, too.
2. You suddenly notice greater-than-usual withdrawals from your joint accounts.
If you still have access to your accounts, you may notice that your spouse is suddenly withdrawing considerably more money than usual. Sometimes, it will occur in obvious ways: large cash withdrawals that do not seem to line up with known purchases, for example. Other times, you may find that your spouse simply seems to be making larger purchases than usual. Some people, for example, will get in the habit of withdrawing a little extra money every time they make a card purchase. Those funds can add up quickly over time.
3. You notice overpayment on certain specific bills.
Your spouse may choose to overpay on his taxes or on debts, including your mortgage or credit card bills, in an effort to use community assets–potentially including your income–to pay down debts before you separate your assets during the divorce. If you have access to these records, you may notice significant changes in the balance on those accounts each month, especially compared to the payments you usually make. If you don’t have access to those accounts, you may notice larger-than-usual withdrawals or payments related to those accounts.
4. You notice missing income.
Many people don’t track their spouse’s income particularly carefully. As you prepare for divorce, however, you may want to keep an eye on the payments your spouse receives. Sometimes, your spouse may try to hide a portion of his paycheck, including not bringing home money from overtime or bonuses that would usually appear at a specific time of the year.
5. Your spouse is suddenly making large, expensive purchases.
Many people, when preparing for divorce, will start making expensive purchases that the other spouse doesn’t know much about. They may, for example, choose to buy expensive artwork, to invest in cryptocurrency, or to purchase expensive collectibles or antiques. Often, you won’t think to divide those specific assets during the divorce, so you may have a hard time figuring out how to manage those assets and challenges.
6. Your spouse suddenly opens a new business.
If your spouse has shown little interest in opening a new business in the past, but has suddenly decided to launch a business as you started talking about divorce, that business may be a shell intended to hold money so that your spouse will be able to access it after the divorce. Keep an eye on that business and plan to investigate it during the divorce if needed.
7. Your spouse has suddenly closed an account or accounts without your consent.
If you notice accounts closing suddenly, it could lead to money going missing, which could make it difficult for you to keep track of where all that money has gone.
8. Your spouse has made loans to friends and family members.
If you notice large-volume loans, in particular, you may find that your spouse is actually hiding that money for use after the divorce. This is especially likely if you have not been in the habit of making those types of loans in the past. Pay attention to what your spouse says he is loaning the money for. For example, if it’s not unusual for you to offer a loan to your mother-in-law to help her get through for a few extra days at the end of the month, that might not be a red flag. On the other hand, if your spouse suddenly starts loaning large quantities of money to their best friend, especially if they’ve never done so before, it could indicate that they’re trying to hide money.
What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Spouse of Hiding Assets?
Hiding assets during the divorce process is illegal. Both you and your spouse will have to provide financial disclosure information that will make it easier to determine how to split your assets.
If you think that your spouse is hiding assets, do not attempt to retaliate. You should not try to hide assets of your own or keep information a secret from your spouse, which could cause you to face the same legal penalties your spouse might face for hiding assets in the divorce. Instead, report your worries to your attorney. Your attorney can conduct a more thorough investigation into your spouse’s finances and any steps your spouse may have taken to hide those assets, which can give you a better idea of what assets you should expect to secure in your divorce.
Having a lawyer on your side can make a big difference in many aspects of your divorce case, including what assets you ultimately secure. Whether you have just gotten started with the divorce process or want to know more about how to protect yourself against the possibility that your spouse is hiding assets, contact Pedrick Law Group, APC today at 818-325-3934.