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10 SIGNS THAT YOUR SPOUSE MAY BE HIDING MONEY AND ASSETS FROM YOU

Having knowledge and understanding of the family’s financial situation is important during a marriage. When one spouse is making significant financial moves without the other party being aware of them, it jeopardizes the financial future of both people and demonstrates a disregard for the essential elements of a healthy relationship: trust and communication.

While there might be some innocent reasons for being secretive; such as planning a surprise getaway or buying an expensive anniversary gift, more often than not such behaviors have malicious intentions behind them since concealing money can also be a sign of deeper problems in a relationship, an intent to leave a relationship, or covering up illegal activities, addictions or affairs.

The issue of financial infidelity becomes even more imperative in the period leading up to a separation, and while concealing money from a spouse is unethical and illegal, it remains one of the most common occurrences during the divorce proceedings as one party may want to avoid or reduce paying child or spousal support or they might feel that the law will not divide their assets in a just manner.

Being able to recognize the warning signs that your partner may be hiding money and assets from you will ensure that you have enough time to react to the situation, consult a professional before it’s too late and make the right decisions that will help you receive your fair share of the estate in an event of a divorce.

The following are the most common red flags to keep an eye on if you suspect that your spouse may be hiding something from you:

  1. Control over finances –   Your spouse maintains complete control of bank account information and passwords and gets defensive when the subject of money is being brought up by you.
  1. Ambiguity Your spouse is keeping you in the dark about financial matters and does not provide you with clear answers when you try to get more information.
  1. Private mailboxWhen your spouse keeps a separate P.O Box they could be receiving financial statements or other financial documents in secret.
  1. Computer malfunction and accessDeleting accounting or client management software or claiming sudden computer malfunction and hard drive crashes or simply limiting your access to a computer that stores potential business information is an indication that your partner may be trying to hide something.
  1. Unusual purchasesPurchasing large and expensive items such as cars, jewelry, and art that do not fit a profile of an income bracket your spouse claims to be in or are unusual for their normal shopping behavior is a sign that they are lying about the true state of their financial situation.
  1. Sudden claims of financial difficultiesWhen a spouse starts making claims that their business is not doing so well financially all of a sudden without any particular reason and they complain about their finances, increased debt, and other failed investments; they may be trying to deceive, exaggerate and overstate their situation to skew a settlement in their favor. Look out for claims of an income decrease without a corresponding reduction of expenses.
  1. Gift-givingGiving large gifts or transferring assets to family members or friends is a red flag that your spouse is trying to keep assets from you. They are likely trying to protect these assets from being split during divorce negotiations and will recover them once the divorce is finalized.
  1. Unexplained documents and behaviorUnfamiliar bank and credit card statements; frequent overseas trips to countries with relaxed banking laws; ownership of multiple cellphone numbers and multiple business or personal bank accounts without obvious reasons for having them are all indications that your spouse is trying to hide their assets.
  1. Over assertivenessAn individual trying to quickly hide their assets before going to divorce court may be very pushy about demanding your signature on financial documents.
  1. Overpaying creditorsOverpaying taxes and credit cards is another indication that a spouse is counting on being refunded those amounts after a divorce is finalized.

Assets can be hidden in a lot of different ways which are limited only by the creativity of their owner. Some people tie up assets in their business; they form hidden corporations and open offshore bank accounts. Some go to extra lengths and overpay creditors or purchase expensive items in order to receive back payments and convert those items into cash at a later date. Others under-report asset values on legal forms, tax returns, or corporate documents or simply deter their assets by gifting them or using third parties to register the assets in question. This list is just a fraction of the possibilities that exist for a motivated individual to conceal their money and assets from their partner.

The more elaborate the money diversion and asset concealment schemes are the more difficult they are to identify and track. In those cases a forensic accountant and/or a Private Investigator may be hired to locate them by conducting searches in various databases and open sources; by doing forensic reviews and analysis; and by physically following the suspected spouse.

By using advanced investigative and analysis techniques, it is possible to uncover undisclosed property, third-party associations, businesses, and other evidence that will demonstrate the true nature of the financial situation of an individual. Most importantly, this evidence will be collected in a legal manner, while adhering to all provincial and federal privacy laws making it admissible in the courtroom.

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