In especially contentious divorces there are sometimes concerns that one spouse is hiding assets. If you have suspicions like this, your distrust may not be unfounded. Divorce can be an expensive process and despite it being illegal, hiding assets can be tempting for some people, especially if that person handles your family’s financial matters alone.
There are numerous ways someone could conceal assets. Some examples include shifting funds between accounts, deferring a bonus or promotion until after the divorce, intentionally overpaying taxes, transferring assets to someone else until after the divorce, having a separate bank account and inflating expenses. However, there are several signs you can look for if you think your spouse may be hiding assets.
Taking a closer look at your finances
If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, it is important to start looking closer to the details of your family’s financial matters, especially if you have previously left those matters to your spouse. Even if you determine that your spouse has hidden nothing, your family’s financial situation will be an important part of the divorce process, so it is important to understand all of its components.
Also, following your divorce, you may have to manage your personal finances on your own, so an exploration of your current finances can help you get organized and prepared for that time. To this end, it may be advantageous to make copies of your family’s financial and tax documents for your own records.
As you examine your family’s finances and your spouse’s voluntary disclosures, look for some basic signs that can indicate your spouse has hidden assets. Those signs include:
- Increased unusual activity, such as money being shifted around more than usual
- Higher living expenses than is appropriate for the area
- Illogical oversights, like not sharing information for a frequently used account
- Refusal to cooperate or answer questions
If you notice some red flags while examining your family’s finances, you may consider working with your divorce attorney to bring additional details to light. You can formally request your spouse to provide financial or asset information. This request is called an interrogatory. You could also ask your spouse about the assets during a deposition, which is a testimony in front of a court reporter.
Divorce is often filled with distrust, and sometimes this distrust is well-founded. To protect yourself from getting less than you deserve in your divorce, it is important to be familiar with your family’s finances, so you can tell when something may be amiss.