When going through a divorce, the last thing you need or want is a spouse making things harder for you every step of the way. Unfortunately, this is exactly what many people end up experiencing when a spouse chooses to hide assets.
First, what does it mean to hide assets? Why does it happen? And most importantly, how do you identify and put a stop to it?
What is asset hiding?
Hiding assets in a divorce is an act that involves essentially pretending one has fewer assets than one actually does. By not reporting some, this portion of assets is not up for division, meaning you end up cheated out of some of what you should rightfully have. As far as reasons go, spouses claim many, including everything from fearing for their financial security to simply wanting to spite their spouse.
Red flags to watch for
Forbes examines ways in which you can locate hidden assets during a divorce. First, keep an eye on changes to your spouse’s behaviors and spending patterns. Behavioral changes will usually involve more furtiveness and reluctance to share even minute financial matters with you, like not wanting you to see receipts from recent purchases.
Spending pattern changes will likely come in an unexpected form, though. A common tactic for hiding assets involves transferring them from one form to another. Specifically, transferring money to goods by purchasing big-ticket items like motorcycles, high-end electronics and more. The ultimate plan in this scenario involves waiting until after the divorce to return or sell these products, thus regaining the money spent without ever having to split it.
These are just a few of the earliest warning signs you might pick up on, but you might wish to contact a financial analyst or legal aid sooner rather than later. Time is of the essence in a divorce, after all.