The following list comprises of the top 4 signs your spouse is hiding money. The process of divorce is unfortunate, tragic, and many times hard to navigate. While divorce may be initiated for a multitude of reasons, the factors that require the most attention throughout the process are children and finances. Many divorces may be resolved in an orderly fashion, while others may become contested. Children bear the unfortunate and overwhelming burden of divorce; however, finances typically demand the most attention through the legal process.
The numbers used to calculate marital finances are only as good and reliable as both parties are honest. More specifically, if one party lacks honesty or fails to fully disclose their asset structure, the marital asset calculation won’t be beneficial at all. The following list should not be considered all-inclusive or definitive; however, based on our experience these 4 signs should lead you to reasonable suspicion that your spouse is hiding money.
- Holds business interests previously undisclosed to youSetting a business up in the United States is not complicated. In less than 60 minutes, you can receive a Certificate of Incorporation from your state of preference, be granted a tax identification number (EIN) from the federal government upon request, and download a template for a “written action identifying authorized signers” from any of the 100+ legal document sites of your choice. These three items can generally be taken to any financial institution to set up a bank account.
Understanding the simplicity of this process is important because it may be the first step your spouse takes to conceal assets. Business filings are public information; however, business ownership may be discrete depending on the state of filing, “Anonymous LLCs”. Through certain processes and investigation techniques, it is possible to determine business holdings even in states where the ownership structure is discrete. Navigating this process and understanding the underlying techniques may be difficult, but with the proper team, it is very possible.
- Insists on maintaining complete control over financesIt is very normal that one spouse manages the money throughout a marriage, however, if your spouse becomes defensive or refuses to answer simple questions about your finances, you have grounds to be concerned. You have the right to know your general financial status and should see no pushback requesting such data. However, defensiveness could be caused by a variety of things and isn’t a perfect indicator that a pile of cash is sitting in a treasure chest in the Virgin Islands. But it may give you a reason to believe your spouse is trying to conceal information from you.
- Maintains that the business or real property “isn’t worth anything”
With many high-net-worth marriages, businesses are involved. Business ownership presents a wide array of complex challenges, but it also presents numerous opportunities to conceal assets. In many instances, one party is involved in the daily operations of the business and the other is not. More specifically, even when both spouses are involved in the daily operations, typically one spouse is in control of the finances. When a divorce is initiated in these scenarios only one spouse will have the ability to provide detail on the business financials. The actual truth behind those details may be a different story entirely.
The same idea should be understood for real property ownership. In marriages where investments have been made into real property, one spouse typically remains in control of the financial details. In addition, the more properties are used as rentals, the more complex these situations may become.
“It isn’t worth anything” should not be considered acceptable when it pertains to business or real-property ownership. This type of comment should at least trigger a conversation with professionals.
4. Large asset purchases don’t coincide with bank statements
It is easy to understand why you should be concerned about seeing abnormal transactions such as casino transfers, large outgoing wires, or abnormal mortgage payments. However, it is less common to become concerned about assets that have been purchased with monies from unknown sources. For example, if your spouse comes home with their dream 2-door convertible, and you have no idea what they used for a down payment, it could mean that other accounts exist. Or alternatively, if your spouse comes home with an expensive gift and you ask, “How did you pay for this?”, followed by a response such as, “Don’t worry about it!”; you may want to worry about it.
Being uninterested in the details of your finances is not a solution during a divorce. This isn’t a matter of intelligence, and there is no need to be embarrassed. These are matters of deception. Protect yourself from these issues by being on the offensive. Don’t wait until the divorce goes through 4 rounds of mediation with no solution and expensive fees. Work with a team of professionals before you spend an inordinate amount of money down the road.
If you found our Top 4 Signs Your Spouse is Hiding Money to be helpful, and you’d like to read about another one of our current event fraud stories, check out our previous article, Top 5 NFT Fraud Schemes.