In Colorado, spouses are entitled to equitable division of marital property, which includes all assets the couple obtained during the marriage. Income, real estate, and retirement savings are all forms of marital property.
Divorce can get ugly, and some spouses try to hide assets, particularly liquid assets, like cash in the bank. They may also sell assets that can easily be liquidated for cash, like stocks and bonds or other property.
One of the best ways to protect yourself is to know the tactics people use to hide assets. That’s what we’ll examine in this article.
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Is My Spouse Hiding Assets?
Divorcing couples aren’t always on their best behavior, but you may not expect your spouse to go to great lengths to prevent you from having what is rightfully yours from the marriage. Unfortunately, it happens all too often.
Below are some common behaviors and ploys people engage in or use when they’re hiding assets.
Financial Control Freak
If your spouse has total control over your financial accounts information, such as logins and passwords, they may be trying to hide that they’re secretly stowing away money. Check your online accounts. Take notice if your access is now blocked.
Will Not Discuss Finances
Has your spouse become tight-lipped about the finances? They could be trying to hide something from you.
Gives Money to Friends or Family
Your spouse has never been one to borrow money from anyone. In fact, it’s always been the other way around. Now, all of a sudden, your spouse needs to repay some loans. This tactic allows your spouse to have cash on hand after the divorce is final. Check your account for suspicious withdrawals.
Sudden Expensive Purchases
If it’s out of character for your partner to begin to make large purchases, especially using your checking accounts, this should raise a red flag. Your spouse may intend to sell the items later and keep the profits, leaving you without your share of the marital cash.
Bank Statements Disappear
If one day you notice bank statements no longer come in the mail, there is a chance the address on the account has been changed to hide something nefarious. People sometimes do this to try to reduce detection that money is being diverted from a joint account to a secret account held only by one spouse.
Complains About a Salary Decrease
Often times a spouse will say they have received a sizable pay cut when, in fact, they haven’t. This lie allows them to side money over time so they don’t have to lose some of it to you in the divorce.
Reports Bad Investments
Your spouse may tell you they made some bad investments and lost a considerable amount of money. This is a sign a spouse is trying to mislead you so the divorce settlement goes is in their favor.
Unusual Business or Tax Practices
Questionable business and tax behavior is a sign of something is wrong. For instance, you notice your spouse has begun to cut a paycheck each month to an employee whose name you don’t recognize. Or, your spouse overstates business expenses on their taxes (this is also tax fraud, by the way).
Erases Computer Programs
A spouse who is up to no good may erase financial programs from the computer; or they may say the computer crashed in an effort to cover up their underhanded plan.
Demands Your Signature
If your spouse asks for your signature on a financial document, read it thoroughly. This could be a trick to get you to relinquish some of your assets. If you don’t understand what the document says, take it to a lawyer for their review.
What Can I Do if I Suspect My Spouse is Hiding Assets?
It’s important that you keep your behavior on the up and up. If you’re spouse is, in fact, hiding assets, it will benefit you in court that you didn’t break the law to uncover the truth. So, with that in mind, here are some (legal) things you can do:
Pay attention to statements and documents that come in the mail – and take notice of ones that stop being delivered.
Monitor joint accounts. Look for large withdrawals or smaller weekly withdrawals that add up to large sums. Also watch for expensive purchases.
Check joint electronic fund transfer accounts. These systems, like PayPal, can be used to send people money. Money isn’t always transferred to familiar individuals, like friends and family. Look for names you don’t recognize.
Request copies of all financial records, especially if you’re like many other Coloradans who opt for a do-it-yourself divorce. As you proceed with the divorce, you’ll both be required to report financial information, such as tax records, loan documents, and bank account statements. Divorce can bring out the worst in people; so do not count on your spouse to necessarily be forthright.
Keep a journal of your findings so you can provide them to a lawyer if the time comes.
Consider hiring a lawyer if your spouse refuses to turn over documents. They can legally demand them. Also, seek the advice of a divorce attorney if you discover there are hidden assets.
A divorce lawyer may employ the skills of a forensic accountant who can track down the whereabouts of hidden marital assets, especially if you’re involved in a high-asset divorce that includes overseas dealings.
Hiding assets is ILLEGAL.
If you have a feeling your spouse is trying to keep assets from you, don’t let that go. Again, you’re entitled to your share of the marital property.
Our compassionate and assertive team of divorce lawyers is ready to help. Your initial consultation is free. Schedule online or call 303-688-0944.