Divorce and discovering hidden assets
The erosion of trust can be detrimental in any relationship. When it comes to marriage and the relationship between spouses, this is often especially true and marriages in which spouses lie or keep secrets from one another are likely to become part of the 50 percent that end in divorce.
According to a 2012 study by Today.com and Self.com, a whopping 46 percent of married individuals admitted to keeping secrets related to money and spending from a spouse. The reasons for these covert financial operations likely vary, but experts contend that so-called financial infidelity is common in marriages where one spouse controls and keeps close tabs on the finances.
For couples whose troubled marriages were plagued by secret spending, it’s likely that, should they eventually divorce; hidden assets will also become an issue. Depending on how long a spouse has been squirreling away money, he or she may have amassed a small fortune; a portion of which, legally, an unsuspecting husband or wife is entitled.
While some spouses may attempt to hide assets via secret credit cards and bank accounts, there are also many other ways to hide assets. For example a spouse may choose to purchase and later sell collections, antiques or art. Some spouses may also temporarily divert funds to a close relative or friend or request that an employer delays a bonus or raise until a divorce is finalized.
In any divorce, it’s wise to investigate the financial dealings and activities of a soon-to-be ex-spouse for the past several months to years. An attorney who is well-versed in complex and high asset divorces can assist in uncovering hidden assets.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Financial Infidelity: A Plague of Modern Marriage,” Monica Mehta, Nov. 2, 2015
Wife.org, “Where to Search for Hidden Assets During Divorce,” Candance Bahr and Ginita Wall, Dec. 30, 2015