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Ah, the old hidden asset trick

We're all familiar with the quote, "Desperate times call for desperate measures," and if you're in the middle of a nasty divorce battle, you can relate all the more. So what happens when you have the sinking feeling that your spouse is trying to hide certain assets or parts of their income from you? If you've discovered a receipt for a purchase you don't recognize, don't have any access to bank statements each month, or your spouse is getting especially defensive during discussions about money, maybe it's time to dig a little deeper into your financial situation and make sure all assets are accounted for.

 

The "in-spouse" and "out-spouse"

In marriage, it's ideal that the couple is equally involved in the financial decisions. This isn't always the case. One spouse ("in-spouse"), may have a larger role in managing the cash flow, paying the bills, distributing and seeing where the money goes. The other spouse ("out-spouse") is the one who remains uninvolved in the finances, or takes very little notice. The "out-spouse" could be a stay-at-home parent, or the spouse that makes a tiny percentage of the income, and spends very little time considering where the money is going.

The best thing you can do is start taking a careful inventory of where the money is going, if you have access to it.

Keep an eye out for these possible hints

There is a multitude of ways your spouse could be hiding assets from you. If any of the following seem familiar, then there's a chance that's exactly what they're doing:

  • Withdrawing large sums of cash or making big purchases. If you do have access to your bank statement and you find large cash withdrawals you didn't know about, approach your spouse about it. Also, if you've noticed them purchase expensive items like jewelry or art, there is a chance your spouse is converting money into physical assets, then underreporting the value of the item.

  • New accounts are sprouting up. If you get a piece of mail from a bank you don't have an account with, this might mean your spouse created a secret account.

  • A decrease in salary. Sometimes when people hide income, a pay decrease may suddenly occur. This could mean your spouse has asked for a hold on a bonus for future distribution, like after the divorce is finalized.

  • Transferring assets. This is an easy way for your spouse to get money out of your marital bank accounts and into the hands of a friend or family member for safe-keeping. Then after the divorce, your spouse will be able to retrieve the money and put it in their own bank account.

Thinking that the person you're supposed to trust the most could be hiding money or other assets from you is heartbreaking. If you feel like you are out of options, please reach out to divorce lawyer who can assist you in making sure you get the portion of assets you deserve.

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