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How you can tell if your spouse is hiding assets during divorce

Divorce can cause emotions to run high and instill a "me vs. them" attitude. It can cause otherwise sane and stable people to become angry and vindictive. This can be due to seeking custody of your children or accumulating more of the assets once the property is split up. What can easily happen is that one person in the divorce may decide to illegally hide assets they don't want exposed during the divorce.

This tends to happen more during high-asset divorce. Especially if one spouse has been the primary overseer of the couple's finances. It is very simple - if certain assets are not reported, they cannot be divided in court. If you believe that certain assets are being hidden, you need to let your attorney know as soon as possible. If you are wondering what you should look for, here are some signs your spouse may be hiding assets:

  • You notice large withdrawals from joint accounts you are not aware of.
  • You find statements from credit card companies and banks you are not familiar with.
  • Overpaying credit cards to create a positive balance which can be used later.
  • You continue to find receipts for ATM withdrawals for accounts you are not aware of.
  • Payments are being made to accounts you are not familiar with from your joint accounts.
  • If your spouse is being paid in cash for work and you believe they should be making more than what they put in the bank.
  • You notice the purchase of expensive items such as antiques, cars, artwork etc.
  • A bank account has been opened in your child's name where they can funnel money to.
  • Debts you are not familiar with get paid. This is usually to a family member who will then hold the money until after the divorce.
  • You see deposits made to an unfamiliar account.
  • You see payments made to the post office. This can be due to the purchase of a post office box where statements and bills can be delivered.
  • You notice your spouse owns more than one cell phone.
  • Your spouse gets angry and defensive if you question any of the above items.

The good news is that most of the time divorce does not get this sneaky and underhanded. But when it comes to money and high value assets, there is always the potential for one spouse to try underhanded tricks. If you can spot certain signs that your soon to be ex-spouse is hiding money, you have a greater chance of protecting what is rightfully yours.

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Coates Frey Tanimoto & Gibson, AAL, LLLC
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