Like many people, you may feel that dealing with finances is stressful, and if your spouse handles the money, that’s just fine with you. However, remaining in the dark about how money comes and goes in your marriage may leave you vulnerable to deception in the event of a divorce.
One survey showed that 30 percent of people who combine their incomes have kept purchases secret from their partners. You may have stashed a new pair of shoes or destroyed a receipt from a luncheon splurge and thought nothing of it. On the other hand, if you are heading toward a high asset divorce and you haven’t been involved in the everyday budgeting in your family, you and your lawyer may want to consider the possibility that your spouse is hiding assets.
Look for signs that money is being diverted
It may not have crossed your mind that your spouse has kept money secret from you. In fact, many people don’t question when money is missing from joint accounts because they never knew it existed to begin with. If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets of which you have a rightful share, look for signs that your spouse is doing these things:
- Transferring money from your joint account to an individual account or a friend’s account
- Taking out a new life insurance policy
- Purchasing big ticket items like art and jewelry and downplaying their value
- Loaning money to family members or friends
On the surface, these may seem like innocent, even benevolent, ventures. However, your attorney will have the resources to investigate these signs more closely to determine if they are a front for deception.
The best way to prevent your spouse from hiding assets from you is to be actively involved in the finances in your marriage. Even if your spouse is trustworthy and straightforward, remaining passive about the management of the marital estate often leads to disastrous consequences. You can minimize the opportunity for your spouse to deceive you if you do the following:
- Request online access for any joint accounts.
- Monitor transactions regularly for unusual transfers or withdrawals.
- Ask questions. Find out how much money your spouse makes, where it is invested and how it is spent.
- Get to know the financial advisor your spouse consults.
- Discuss money with your spouse routinely.
Distasteful as it may be for you to deal with family finances, you will be doing yourself a favor by educating yourself and participating in your own financial well-being.
If you still suspect your spouse is hiding assets from you, or if your marriage seems destined to end, consulting an attorney may be a wise decision. A family law attorney has the resources to investigate your spouse’s financial activity and to locate any money that may have been diverted. Having a lawyer at your side ensures you will receive your fair share of the marriage estate.