Divorce is often filled with distrust, and sometimes this distrust is well-founded. In some situations it is all too easy for a spouse to hide assets, especially if that person has been managing the household finances alone. However, if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, there are several signs you can look out for and actions you can take to protect your interests during a divorce.
Pay attention to financial statements
You will want to review all statements from your family’s bank, credit card companies and retirement accounts, and save copies of these documents for your records. You should also review and save copies of tax returns and any other documents that pertain to your family’s financial situation. If you notice overpayments being made to the Internal Revenue Service or other creditors, it could be a sign that your spouse is trying to hide assets.
If financial statements typically have been delivered to your home, but are no longer being delivered there, it may also be a sign that your spouse is hiding something. Because you should have your own copies of all financial records, you should reach out to the respective financial institution to ensure you get copies of the records you are missing.
Take note of any dramatic decrease in income
If your spouse experiences a dramatic decrease in income, it could indicate he or she is deferring salary or other assets until after the divorce is finalized. If he or she owns a business, he or she may be paying nonexistent employees or intentionally avoiding signing new clients until after the divorce. If records do not accurately represent how much money your spouse makes or the true success of his or her business, it will be difficult to receive your fair share of the assets when they are distributed in the divorce.
If your spouse is hiding assets, it is unethical and illegal, but often you are responsible for proving that it is happening. The best way to protect yourself from getting less than you deserve in a divorce is to keep your own financial records and pay attention to anything that looks out of the ordinary.