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Recognizing signs that your spouse may be hiding marital assets

Financial problems may often lead to discord in a marriage. Nearly one-third of married Americans who share finances with their spouses admit that they have been deceptive about assets and debts at some point during their marriages, according to the National Endowment for Financial Education.

Changes in income or a sudden increase in debt after a couple has decided to separate may be a sign that it is not just the economy at work. Anxieties and stress over the division of property in family court may create an incentive for one spouse or the other to hide assets. Unfortunately, some individuals may be aware that their spouse is hiding assets, according to a recent article in Forbes. The reasons may vary, but victims of fraud may feel disheartened and become reluctant to report their suspicions to their attorney.

An Experienced Marital Law Attorney Knows How To Trace Assets

In high stakes matters, divorce lawyers may bring in forensic accountants to trace assets to detect evidence of assets being tucked away in hard to locate places. Knowing the warning signs that your spouse may be depleting marital property before the divorce is finalized is a good first step in protecting your future financial stability.

Cash is often the focus of hidden assets. Transfers of hoarded or unrecorded cash and abnormalities in accounting practices for revenue streams can reduce the paper trail. However, common signals may include:

  • Opening a new Post Office box away from the family home to receive bank statements or financial documents
  • A sudden decision to delete or disable a computer based accounting program that has been used to process marital bills, bank accounts and other financial transactions
  • A sudden increase in debt, especially regarding loans involving your spouse's close friends or other family members
  • Investment transfers, such as stock accounts, from your spouse to a business associate
  • A sharp increase in unreimbursed business expenses

It is important to note that the red flags may turn out to be red herrings. Not every transaction or change in circumstance is proof of nefarious activity. If you are falsely accused of hiding assets or you believe your spouse may be hiding assets, understating income, overstating debt, or using other tactics to gain an unfair advantage in your divorce, it is critical for you to speak with a skilled trial lawyer with the resources and financial acumen to safeguard your rights.

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