Most divorces don’t come entirely out of the blue. If you’re approaching a breakdown of your marital relationship, the odds are high that both you and your spouse see the writing on the wall.
That can be a good thing. It can allow both of you to take stock of your situation, start to gather your financial records and make plans for the future. Unfortunately, it can also be an opportunity for your spouse to take proactive measures to protect their interests – at the expense of yours.
While the divorce process requires full disclosure of each spouse’s assets and debts so that the property division can be fairly handled, the reality is that some spouses make a concentrated effort to hide whatever they can. They figure if they can tuck a little “nest egg” away that you don’t know about, they can walk away with more than they’re due and nobody will be wiser.
What are the signs that your spouse is hiding assets?
Both before you actually file for divorce and after, you need to look for the following signs of trouble. While some people can get very creative about their attempts to evade the rules, here are the most common ways assets are hidden:
- They simply deny the asset exists. For example, you may know that your spouse has been spending late hours looking into cryptocurrency and other online investments, but they claim it was all “just research” and they’ve not put any money into anything.
- They transfer the assets out of their name. Your spouse could have numerous accomplices, including their parents, siblings, best friends or romantic partners, all willing to temporarily hold onto the assets until the divorce is over.
- They claim the asset was simply lost. This is more common with tangible assets, like collections or art pieces. Some spouses have even gone so far as to make forgeries of things like that to avoid losing them in a divorce.
- They create imaginary debts. If your spouse suddenly has to repay a loan to their parents or there are mystery employees you never met on the business payroll, that’s a likely clue that money is simply being shuffled out of sight for the duration.
- They artificially deflate their income. Business owners are particularly good at this because they control their own books, but executives working for other companies can also defer compensation until after their divorces to do the same thing.
Ultimately, if you suspect that your spouse isn’t being honest or fair, the wisest thing you can do is to be proactive yourself. Experienced legal guidance can help.