If you are heading towards a divorce, or suspect that it may be a possibility in the near future, you need to start taking precautions to ensure your rights are protected. One common problem people face in the weeks and months leading up to a divorce is that their spouse is attempting to hide assets. Hiding assets to try to keep them out of divorce proceedings is illegal, and something that the courts take very seriously. Knowing what to look out for to see if your spouse is hiding assets, and how you should respond, is very important.
Money is Unaccounted For
The first, and most obvious way that a spouse can begin hiding assets is by simply taking out cash from a bank account and hiding it somewhere. This could be done by making regular withdrawals from an ATM, or taking out extra money every time they go grocery shopping. If you’ve noticed that more money than normal is coming out of any joint accounts, make sure to document it as well as possible. Look for receipts, and anything else that may serve as proof that they are hiding assets that way.
While it can certainly be a good idea to open separate bank accounts, as long as you are married,income is a joint asset. Make sure to keep track of what bills are being paid by your spouse, and if any of them are getting behind. If possible, get it so you can monitor the new accounts as well so you can see what is being done with the money.
Watch for New Debts
Another way to ‘hide’ assets is to take out new debts now, with the hope that the debt will be split up after the divorce. For example, if your spouse opens a new credit card and spends $10,000 without your knowledge, the courts will need to know this. If it can be proven that you didn’t know or agree to this type of debt, they will often assign the full debt to your ex after the divorce.
Employers are Withholding Payments
Larger companies will almost never do this, but if your spouse works for a small company, they may ask them to withhold certain payments until after the divorce so that it is not split up in the divorce. This is especially common for bonuses and sales incentives. If you can show that this was done, the courts can demand that the money is split up, even if the divorce had already been finalized.
What to Do
If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, do not immediately confront them, and definitely don’t resort to hiding assets yourself. Instead, gather as much proof as you possibly can of any suspect actions, and present it to your attorney. Talking to your lawyer about this is also important since they will be able to give you advice on how to handle the situation. Contact Hensley Legal Services if you believe your spouse is hiding assets, or if you believe a divorce may be coming soon. We are here to represent and protect your legal interests.