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Could Your Spouse Be Hiding Assets?

In a perfect world, spouses going through a divorce would be open and honest about their property and other financial assets. Unfortunately, experts report that it is not uncommon for spouses to conceal income or property during the divorce process. If you are going through a divorce, it is wise to be aware of red flags that may indicate your spouse is hiding assets.

Most couples have numerous accounts and property holdings. These include bank accounts, investment accounts, retirement funds, real estate, vehicles and potentially interests in businesses. The complexity of many couples' financial portfolios makes it relatively easy for missing accounts or funds to be overlooked. Therefore, it is important to be alert for suspicious behaviors that may indicate your spouse is concealing assets and bring them to the attention of your divorce lawyer.

Signs your spouse may be hiding assets include:

  • Your spouse is secretive or controlling about financial affairs
  • New bank or investment accounts are opened by your spouse for no apparent reason
  • Your spouse purchases high-dollar items that could easily be sold at a later date
  • Data from financial programs on your computer has been deleted

If your spouse owns a business or professional practice, you also should be alert for large business purchases or changes in business expense or revenue patterns. Spouses may also attempt to defer compensation, bonuses or commissions until after the divorce.

Additionally, a dishonest spouse may collude with friends or family members by temporarily transferring ownership of valuable assets to them until the divorce is final.

These are just some of the many tactics spouses may use to hide assets in an effort to prevent them from being considered in the division of property.

Source: Forbes, "21 Signs That Your Husband May Be Hiding Marital Assets During Your Divorce," Jeff Landers, Mar. 30, 2012.

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