Recently we addressed the issue of people who attempt to hide assets from their spouses in cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. Because of the anonymous nature of these currencies, they have been an effective way for people to avoid acknowledging all of their assets and therefore having to divide them with spouses in a divorce. However, there are many other ways that people can and do hide assets from spouses, both while they are married and when they divorce. Often, they hide debt.
Although both parties are required to fully and honestly list their assets and debts when they commence divorce proceedings, not everyone does. When people are honest, sometimes spouses are in for an unpleasant surprise, such as considerable debt they never knew their spouse had accumulated.
Not everyone is uninformed about their spouse's financial situation because of intended deceit. Sometimes, it's simply a lack of communication about money.
In a recent survey, less than two-thirds of respondents said that they were completely honest with their spouse or partner about financial matters. The term for this is "financial infidelity." Nearly two-thirds said that financial infidelity is even worse than adultery.
Financial experts say that there are warning signs that a spouse may be financially unfaithful. These include:
- Unexplained changes in spending habits
- Not having financial statements and credit card bills mailed to the home anymore
- Asking you to account for your own spending (a possible sign of deflection)
- Increased withdrawals from your accounts
If you and your spouse are moving toward divorce or have already begun the process and you believe that you don't have an accurate picture of his or her financial situation, even with what has been disclosed to you and your attorney, there are professionals who can help.
Forensic accountants can work to get a complete and accurate financial picture. Their investigation can help you and your attorney seek a fair division of property.
Source: CNBC, "Tell-tale signs that your partner is guilty of financial infidelity," Lorie Konish, Jan. 23, 2018