how to tell your spouse is hiding assets

8 Signs She Might Be Hiding Assets

Goldberg Jones Divorce Leave a Comment

If divorce is on the horizon, getting your proverbial ducks in a row is important—particularly when it comes to your finances.

It isn’t uncommon for spouses to try and hide assets when a divorce is imminent. Knowing the red flags that might indicate your wife is hiding money can help you protect your rights and your financial future.

Is She Hiding Assets?

The eight signs listed below are not definitive proof that your wife is concealing assets, but they can indicate that further investigation into her finances is prudent.

1. Self-employment

Being a business owner in and of itself isn’t a warning sign of hidden assets. However, if your wife owns her own business there are more opportunities for creative concealment of money.

Be wary of drastic changes in reported income and unexpected increases in operating costs.

Purposefully “running a business into the ground” or not letting you look at the business’ financial documents can signal something is amiss. If you or your wife own businesses, speak with a family law attorney or accountant (or both) before filing for divorce.

2. Income/lifestyle discrepancy

If your soon to be ex-wife is living large, yet reporting an income that puts her below the poverty line, this can indicate that there is something awry with the income she is reporting.

Additionally, a change in how much or how often your spouse is willing to contribute to family expenses can be a warning sign that your wife if hiding assets.

3. A change in deposit/withdrawal activity

If the deposit and/or withdrawal activity suddenly changes after years of predictability, it might be time to investigate where the money is going.

It isn’t uncommon for spouses make cash withdrawal or to start diverting money into new accounts when a divorce is inevitable.

Cash transactions can be more difficult to track, making them an attractive avenue for people trying to hide money. After cash has been withdrawn from an account it can be moved to a variety of places where it can be held until after the divorce is final.

4. She is overly assertive about signatures on financial documents

If your wife suddenly becomes aggressive about having you sign important financial documents and pressures you to act quickly with financial decisions, she may be trying to hide something from you.

This can encompass everything from wanting to be added to property via title or asking you to sign quit claims that release interest in title or accounts.

It is always important to take the time to read and understand any financial documents that are presented to you—and when divorce is on the horizon it becomes imperative. Take as much time as is required to thoroughly evaluate the consequences of signing any financial or legal documents.

5. She is secretive about finances

Is your wife secretive about finances? Does she get dodgy when you ask her about bills, expenses, or her spending? This may be a red flag that she is trying to hide money or financial information.

It is important to pay close attention to credit card statements and credit reports before, during, and after a divorce.

It isn’t uncommon for spouses to max-out lines of credit or open new credit accounts.

Like attempting to accumulate clothes, jewelry, etc. and have the other spouse required to pay for some or all of that debt.

6. Sudden change in the profitability of her business

If your wife’s business has been profitable and then all of a sudden she is reporting record losses and skyrocketing costs, this might require a closer look.

Overstating expenses and understating income are two common methods of making a business appear less profitable (and less valuable) than it actually is.

7. She starts gifting money or assets to family members or friends

Gifts of cash or assets may be an attempt to shield your wife from having to divide those assets during the divorce. If your wife is gifting money or property to friends or family well before the divorce has been filed, it may be difficult to have those assets or money included in the division of marital assets.

It can be particularly challenging if your wife is sending money to family overseas. Money held in offshore accounts can be particularly difficult to locate and even harder to recover. If you suspect that your wife is trying to hide assets in an offshore account, you may need to hire a detective that specializes in financial fraud.

8. Emails or financial statements from an unfamiliar financial institution

If bank statements and other financial documents start arriving from a financial institution that you don’t have an account with, take note. Your wife may have opened a new account in an attempt to move money from a joint account to an account that you cannot access.

If you suspect your wife is trying to hide money or assets, speak with your attorney. Your situation may require additional discovery and a forensic accountant may be necessary. A forensic accountant will work to trace, locate, and accurately value the marital assets to ensure an equitable division in the divorce.

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