How to tell if your spouse is hiding assets during your divorce

How to tell if your spouse is hiding assets during your divorce

Sometimes, what started out as a loving marriage can end in a devious divorce. Divorce can lead people to do things that they may have once thought would be out of character for their spouse. Unfortunately, money is at the root of many of these deceptions.

Whether your spouse is trying to punish you for infidelity, being greedy, or just doesn’t want to give you what’s legally yours, some people go to great means to hide assets during a divorce. Here are some tell-tale signs:

Your spouse has changed the address of the bank statements or has opted for online statements without giving you access

As you’re going through your divorce you suddenly realize the monthly bank statements have “disappeared”. In reality, they are being sent to another address or your spouse has opted for online statements but has conveniently forgotten to notify you. Stay one step ahead and be alert to this change in activity. Call your bank or credit card company to see if any changes have been made so that you know where your money is going.

There are sudden intentional overpayments

Your spouse may decide to overpay the IRS or other accounts so that he or she will receive a refund once the divorce is over. Because the divorce is final you will not legally able to receive any of that money. If the overpayment was not made before the divorce, that money would be considered an asset and would have to be divided accordingly.

You notice defensive and controlling behavior

Your spouse suddenly asks you where you’ve been spending money but is defensive when you do the same. If someone has nothing to hide, they shouldn’t be too defensive, they will put all of their cards on the table. If your spouse is diverting money to a secret account to show fewer assets or hiding income, it is illegal. The tricky part is that if you suspect this is happening, you must prove it. This can be difficult to do and usually requires you to hire a forensic accountant.

Your spouse makes expensive purchases without your knowledge

When a previously frugal spouse turns into a money-spending machine overnight, you can almost guarantee there is deceitful behavior behind it. Your spouse may be making these extravagant purchases to drain your joint accounts only to turn around and sell them to keep the profits all to himself. If you suspect this is happening, confront your spouse so that he or she clearly knows you won’t be fooled.

You notice sudden transfers to friends’ accounts

Suddenly your spouse has several unpaid “loans” he needs to make good on with friends…before your divorce. This is a red flag that there may be suspicious behavior happening. If you notice transfers of large amounts of money, there is a chance your spouse is sending this money to a friend to hold it until the divorce is final. Your spouse will ask for the money back after the divorce, but you won’t see one penny of it because it was not included in your pre-divorce assets.

While you may not want to believe your spouse would intentionally deceive you out of money that’s legally yours, it happens more often than people would like to admit. Being aware of the signs will put in a good position to defend what is legally yours.