You and your spouse have filed for divorce, and one day you notice a payment from your joint checking account to what appears to be a financial adviser. The only problem is you've never heard of or met this financial adviser.
And that makes you wonder - could your spouse be attempting to hide money or assets?
Hiding assets during a divorce is unethical and illegal, yet it happens all too frequently. Here are some signs that your spouse may indeed be attempting to hide assets.
Your spouse suddenly has more than one cell phone.
Your first thought might be that he is having an affair. Your second thought should be that maybe he is hiding assets, because the second phone makes it easier for your spouse to make monetary transactions without your knowledge.
Also, does the bill for the second phone come to your home? If not, your spouse probably doesn't want you to see who he is calling.
Your spouse has recently becomes an art collector.
Or maybe he started collecting expensive watches or cars. All of these items, unless they are accounted for in the divorce settlement, could be used to generate cash - for your spouse - in the future.
Your spouse has not received his expected raise or bonus.
If your spouse typically receives a bonus in December, and it's now January and it has not showed up in your checking account, he may be hiding it. He may be hiding an actual check, or he may have coerced his boss into delaying the bonus until after the divorce.
Maybe you aren't seeing these signs, but still have a nagging suspicion that things are "off." What can you do?
Make a thorough search of your home.
Go through all your shared files, comb through closets and the garage, and check the attic. You may come across statements from newly opened bank accounts, stock certificates you were not aware of, or maybe even a new life insurance policy.
Keep a close eye on your finances.
You should be checking your balances on a daily basis. Whether it's your bank account, retirement account, or investment account, make sure funds don't suddenly disappear.
Check for an electronic trail.
Check your spouse's social media accounts for any information that might be helpful. Also, be sure to check your computer's browser history frequently - you might find your spouse has been visiting an online bank that is not on your radar.
Divorce can be a difficult - even ugly - process. A spouse hiding assets can make it even worse. Take all the necessary steps you can to prevent your spouse from hiding assets and to ensure that you get everything you deserve in your divorce settlement.