IS YOUR SPOUSE HIDING ASSETS?

Divorce often brings out the worst in people. For some, the impulse to protect themselves at all costs can impel them to cross the line into going behind your back to hide assets.

Knowing some common red flags for financial skullduggery can help you catch the signs early and protect yourself before marital assets vanish irretrievably. A knowledgeable family law attorney can advise you as to the further steps you can take to safeguard marital property.

Unexplained changes

Changes in your financial information can let you know something is not right. If you notice certain regular statements stop coming to your house, this can mean your spouse is diverting them to a private mailbox. New statements from accounts you did not know existed can indicate your spouse is opening new accounts, potentially in order to funnel assets through them.

Suspicious decrease in income

Some people try to avoid having assets included in the tally of marital property by claiming they do not exist. This can take the form of claiming decreased income or stalling on collecting a particular source of income. Usually, this happens when a spouse owns a cash business or works freelance, as a regular W2 earner would find it more difficult to conceal or underreport earnings. Failing to report income on tax returns can also rebound on you if you file a joint return, so be careful not to sign any tax documents if you suspect your spouse of hiding income, as innocent spouse relief may not be available.

Cutting off your access to information

Even if you do not usually take care of bills and finances, you should have access to all accounts. If your spouse changes the passwords or otherwise cuts off your access to financial information, you should be on your guard.

Travel abroad

Unexplained large withdrawals and/or solo trips abroad may signal attempts to transfer funds to offshore accounts, which can be hard to reach from the U.S.

If you notice these or other signs of suspicious activity, document them as thoroughly as possible. Your attorney can get experts such as forensic accountants to trace and locate hidden assets. Acting promptly can help you prove wrongdoing and recover hidden property.