If you and your spouse have accumulated a substantial amount of assets throughout the course of your marriage, property division during a divorce can be quite complicated. In many occasions, one spouse attempts to hide or conceal marital assets to either keep more when the divorce is finalized or simply to get back at the other spouse. However, hiding assets is against the law. Not only can lying about finances result in criminal penalties, but also award the other spouse will all the discovered assets. The following are the most common signs your spouse may be hiding assets:
- Your spouse is secretive about financial matters – Your spouse prevents you from looking at bank and/or credit card statements and signing on to an online account, or shreds paper statements before you are able to see them and has complete control over your financial information.
- You encounter unfamiliar bank and credit card statements – This could be a sign that your spouse opened a separate account without your knowledge in order to divert money from your shared accounts. Furthermore, look out for statements from banks which are familiar, but they only have your spouse’s name.
- Your spouse underreports income – Whether your spouse is a small business owner or receives payment in cash, he/she can easily underreport what they really earn financially in an attempt to hide profits which would otherwise be subject to property division. However, this can be quite difficult for W-2 employees.
- Your spouse is giving money and/or property to friends and family – Giving large assets or gifts to friends and loved ones may seem generous, but it is a common tactic to hide assets. This could also come in the form of paying phony debts. Your spouse could later reclaim these gifts once the divorce has been finalized.
- Your credit cards are being overpaid – For example, if your credit card bill is $200, and your spouse makes a payment of $6,000 then they essentially just created an account with a $5,800 balance.
- Your spouse is spending money on expensive assets – From jewelry and artwork to automobiles, your spouse may be attempting to convert money into tangible assets and underreporting the true value.
- Your spouse opened a separate account – If some of your spouse’s income is deposited into another account, he/she may be attempting to keep money away from you. You can track what’s happening to his/her money by checking his/her paystub or joint bank statements to see if any deposit amounts have changed. Additionally, your spouse could open a custodial account with your child’s name and social security number in order to divert money away and claim it’s for your child’s benefit.
- You notice minor charges to the post office – While you may often ignore such a small expense, it could also mean your spouse is paying for a P.O. Box in order to receive mail without your knowledge.
- Your spouse demands your signature – Your spouse may be attempting to hide assets by asking for your signature on financial documents. If this occurs, you need to read each document prior to signing or give it to your lawyer to make sure you aren’t being duped.
- Your spouse has a history of lying – If your spouse has been lying throughout your marriage, do you really believe he/she is going to be honest with your finances?
If you believe your spouse is hiding assets, our Framingham divorce attorneys at Barach Law Group LLC can help address the issue. We can conduct a thorough assessment of your finances and determine whether or not your spouse is being dishonest about your assets. For more information, contact us and schedule a consultation today.