Call it a feeling. You suspect your spouse is hiding things from you. If you and your partner have decided to divorce, he or she may be hiding assets so they aren’t counted for child support or alimony.
According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, about 31 percent of U.S. adults who combined assets with a spouse or partner say they have been deceptive about money.
While we don’t condone lying to your spouse about money in general, if you’re getting divorce, it’s illegal. During the divorce process, you and your partner sign papers stating that you are including everything to the best of your knowledge. Lying here is the same as lying under oath and can come with jail time. Plus, judges have been known to award all the found assets to the other spouse.
Signs Your Partner is Hiding Assets
If you’re the one who feels something is amiss, here are the red flags your partner is hiding assets. Your partner:
- Is secretive when you ask about financial affairs.
- Has control of bank account information and online passwords.
- Keeps a post office box where statements and bills are sent.
- Deletes financial programs on computers kept in the home, or that you have access to.
- Removes the computer or hard drive where financial information is stored. (Maybe he/she tells you it crashed.)
- Has a lot of business account expenses.
- Suddenly tells you his/her business isn’t doing as well.
- Asks for an execution of mutual durable power of attorneys for “estate planning” purposes.
- Says he/she has experienced a pay cut, but seems to be spending the same amount of money.
- Buys some expensive items, such as cars, art, and other items that might be saleable later.
- Uses multiple cell phones.
- Travels abroad frequently.
- Keeps a safe deposit box you don’t have access to.
- Gambles more often.
- Opens new bank accounts.
- More frequent withdrawals.
- Giving money to friends and family members. (They may be holding for him/her until after the divorce.)
While some of this behavior may be normal in a trustworthy partner, if yours is doing many of the things on this list, it might be time to dig deeper.
Learn more in our post Eight Places to Look for Hidden Assets or come to our monthly workshop to speak directly to a divorce lawyer and financial adviser about your situation.