Is your spouse hiding marital assets?
There are many warning signs which indicate a spouse may be hiding marital property and assets.
Finances are often a tricky topic of conversation for couples in Norman. One spouse may spend more money than the other, and to avoid an argument, the spouse decides to conceal the purchase. If a couple decides that their marriage is over, one spouse may not want to share the marital property equally with the other. As a result, they hide items of value from the spouse.
A recent survey of American adults revealed that hiding money and finances is not a rare occurrence. According to Forbes, 30 percent of adults admitted hiding a bill or statement, 34 percent admitted they lied about financial matters, and 58 percent said they hid money from their spouse or partner. Additionally, more women than men claimed to be a victim of deception over finances.
Despite the fact that it is illegal for spouses to lie about finances, many still engage in the behavior and this can leave the other spouse with a settlement that is less than fair. In order to avoid becoming a victim, spouses should educate themselves on what to watch out for. These warning signs include the following:
- Overstatement of debt – the other spouse suddenly claims a large amount of debt the receiving spouse has never heard of before.
- Under-valuating the business – the spouse suddenly claims that the family business is in financial trouble and has lost value.
- Transferring or selling assets to family members and friends
- Controlling all financial information – refusal to hand over passwords to banking accounts or information about accounts in general
- Financial accounting program gets deleted – the spouse may claim that the computer picked up a virus or that during a cleaning, the software was deleted, thereby making it impossible to provide financial data.
- Moving cash out of accounts into private accounts
Spouses who are hiding financial information may also suddenly start acting differently. They may start buying expensive items, present a legal document and try to encourage the other spouse to sign it without letting the spouse read it, take out debt in large amounts or even open multiple accounts with no plausible explanation.
Finding the assets
Once it is determined that a spouse has been hiding money or property, the next step is to find it. The Huffington Post suggests using hidden surveillance products such as spy apps on cellphones, GPS devices in cars and software on computers. Checking the most recent tax return will also indicate if the spouse has other sources of income, as few spouses try to lie to the federal government. Social media sites can also yield valuable information, especially if the spouse posts photos or announcements relating to a business investment or a trip to an exotic location.
The best way to find hidden property, however, is to find an attorney who is experienced in the tactics used by dishonest spouses. The attorney has advanced methods of uncovering the hidden trail of the spouse and can use that information to make sure the victim receives an honest division of property.