Financial infidelity: Three signs your spouse is hiding assets
The National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) reports that one in three adults in a relationship with combined finances has hidden assets from their partner. This ranges from minor infractions like hiding a purchase to more severe deception, like having undisclosed accounts.
There are signs that can indicate a partner is attempting to hide assets. Three examples include:
- Mailings. It is a red flag if you are no longer seeing regular mailings. It is possible that the updates have switched to electronic notification, so check with your spouse. If this is the case, ask if you can get cc’d on the notifications or share the log in information and passwords so you can keep up to date on the status of bank accounts, credit card transactions, retirement portfolios and other financial dealings.
- Net-worth. It is also concerning if your net worth has steadily increased and is suddenly, unexpectedly down. This could result from one spouse increasing spending or attempting to siphon assets into another, hidden account.
- Tax filings. It is not uncommon for one spouse to take the lead in the financial affairs of the couple. However, even if the finances are not your domain it is important to have a basic understanding of where the money is going. Arguably, the easiest way to get a good idea where all the assets are is to be involved during tax season. It is not a good sign if a partner refuses to share the information kept within tax filings. The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) requires the disclosure of all assets. As immoral as it is to hide asset from a spouse, an attempt to hide things from the IRS is criminal and can lead to jail time.
If a partner decides to hide assets, there are a number of ways they may attempt to achieve this goal. A new method to take note of involves the use of cryptocurrency. Digital currency, such as Bitcoin, is fairly anonymous. Although some may use this in an attempt to hide assets, these transactions can be traced.
There are also a number of opportunities for business owners. Those who own businesses may attempt to claim the worth of the business has decreased when they requested a delayed payment from big contracts. The payment may specifically be structured to come in after the divorce is finalized, thus reducing the amount the spouse would claim as part of the business during the divorce.
What can I do if I am concerned my spouse is hiding assets?
As noted above, a review of tax filings can provide some guidance if there is concern that a spouse is attempting to hide assets. If there is concern that a spouse is hiding assets during a divorce proceeding, it is wise to seek counsel that will advocate for your interests. This can increase the likelihood that you will receive a fair settlement.