Deciding on financial matters is almost always a cause of conflict between divorcing spouses - and even more so in a high-asset divorce with more property for the couple to fight over. It is possible to make things go more smoothly by gathering all financial information and deciding on a mutually agreeable solution.
However, if your spouse is uncooperative, this may not be an option. In fact, your spouse may be trying to hide property from you. Watch out for these four signs that this could be happening.
1. Sending mail to external locations
Take notice if bills and other important mail that usually come to your home suddenly stop coming. Your spouse may have started using a post office box or changed the mailing address to his or her workplace or a family member's house. This can be a sign that your spouse is hiding printed evidence of property and assets from you.
2. Spending large sums of money
Another common behavior is to spend extravagant amounts of money. Your spouse may begin to buy expensive items, gamble or go on luxurious trips. The purpose of these activities is to increase expenses and decrease the account balance to change how his or her financial situation appears. Your spouse may resell items after the divorce to get the money back.
3. Making false claims about financial situations
Lying is a trademark of a spouse who is concealing something. Watch for claims such as that the family business failing or accounting programs crashing. Your spouse may also remove hard drives and conveniently lose or destroy them. The lies are an effort to hide actual income, overstate debts and undervalue assets.
4. Withholding financial information or responsibility
You should be very suspicious if your spouse refuses to share account access information or allow you to handle any financial matters. Even if your spouse has always taken care of assets, you should be able to ask questions or access records without getting dismissals and secrecy in response.
The above are not the only signs your spouse is hiding property and assets. Others include the following:
- Selling valuables to family and friends
- Visiting countries with lax banking laws
- Pushing for your signature on important documents
- Opening new personal or business bank accounts for no apparent reason
- Moving cash to avoid a paper trail
If you recognize these signs in your spouse's behavior, it's time to call an attorney with experience in high-asset divorces and property division.