Dividing marital assets fairly can be one of the most challenging aspects of divorce. It becomes even more complicated when one spouse attempts to conceal assets to gain an unfair advantage.
Understanding potential signs that your spouse might be hiding cash, investments or property during a divorce allows you to protect your financial interests.
Unexplained financial discrepancies
Financial inconsistencies that your spouse cannot explain represent one of the biggest red flags. You may notice irregularities in your spouse’s financial records such as missing funds, hidden accounts or unexplained withdrawals.
Sudden changes in financial behavior
Abrupt changes in your spouse’s financial behavior can also be suspicious. This might include them making significant financial transfers or investments that are out of character or seem aimed at diverting assets from the divorce process.
Unusual business transactions
If your spouse owns a business, watch for unexplained or irregular company transactions. They may manipulate business income or expenses, overstate debts or create fictitious debts to reduce the perceived value of the business.
Postponing income until after the divorce becomes final is a common tactic. Your spouse might delay a bonus, raise or commission to avoid sharing it as a marital asset.
Transferring assets to friends or family
Your spouse may attempt to shift assets to friends or family members temporarily to keep them out of the divorce settlement. This could include transferring real estate, vehicles or valuable items such as collectibles.
Overvaluing debts and expenses
Some individuals inflate their debts or exaggerate their living expenses to reduce their ability to pay spousal support or divide assets. These actions can result in an unfair distribution of marital property.
Hidden online accounts and password changes
Your spouse may create hidden online accounts or change the passwords on existing ones to prevent you from accessing financial information. This secrecy can be a sign of asset concealment.
Many people try to hide assets in online investments such as cryptocurrency. CNBC reported on a New York man who concealed half a million dollars in a Bitcoin wallet during his divorce.
During divorce negotiation, review all bank statements, financial records and tax returns carefully. If you notice missing or concealed documents or accounts, investigate further to ensure a fair division of assets.