As spouses near divorce, it’s not uncommon for one party to begin hiding assets in an attempt to retain a greater share of their marital wealth. Look out for these signs if you suspect your partner may be attempting to conceal property.
1. Opening a Separate Account
While divorcing spouses will need to consider how they will be financially independent after they part ways, they are not allowed to prematurely take it upon themselves to secretively secure marital wealth for themselves. If you notice fewer funds in your shared accounts, it could indicate the presence of a second, private account for your partner.
2. Giving Away Assets to Friends or Family
Suppose some of your more expensive assets, such as artworks, cars, or other luxury items have gone missing. In that case, it could be an attempt by your spouse to stash assets away for future repossession under the false pretense that they’re gifting an item they no longer want.
3. Purchasing Luxury Items
Your spouse may not be stashing money, but, rather, valuable items. If your partner is purchasing extravagant items, they may be doing so with the intent to pull from the communal marital fund before it’s divided and get more than their fair share of wealth.
4. Using a Safe Deposit Box for Cash
Paper money is harder to account for and track than funds kept in shared savings and checking accounts. If you notice that excessive amounts of money are being withdrawn from ATMs, while no more groceries nor luxuries are being brought into the house, your spouse may be stashing cash.
5. Opening a Custodial Account
It’s always a good idea to save for your children and their education, but an abrupt opening of an account in your child’s name could be cause for suspicion. Your spouse could be stashing money away with the intent of withdrawing it after the finalization of your divorce.
6. Overpaying Taxes
Intentional overpayment of taxes is a common tactic used to safely stow money away while ensuring it can be returned the following tax season. You should have access to your partner’s financial documents, which you can evaluate to see whether there’s a suspicious adjustment in the amount they’re withholding for taxes.
7. Wage Withholding
Alternatively, your spouse’s wages may be withheld by their employer. Your spouse may ask their boss to delay the issuance of their salary or bonuses in an effort to have sole access to those funds.
Aside from hiding assets, a spouse may also be guilty of wasteful dissipation. This is an attempt to leave the other spouse with fewer assets after the divorce.
Here are some indications that your spouse is guilty of this act.
The Money is Unrecoverable
When engaging in wasteful dissipation, a spouse intentionally burns through money. Remember, anything either spouse purchases during a marriage is a marital asset. This property is up for debate in a divorce, and either spouse could be allowed to keep it. If one spouse is intentionally wasting money, they probably aren’t acquiring new items.
In wasteful dissipation, a spouse spends money on vacations, gifts for others, huge donations to various charities, and so on.
Hiding assets is an attempt to keep what you can after a divorce, but wasteful dissipation doesn’t offer much benefit to the spender. The only goal is to spite the other spouse and make life harder for them. The spender wants fewer assets to go around after the divorce.
The Timing Is Suspicious
Perhaps your spouse has always been irresponsible and wasteful with their money. Maybe that’s the reason for your divorce. In this situation, it’s unlikely that you can prove an intentional, spiteful waste of assets.
If, however, the lavish spending has an abrupt starting point, this could be evidence of wasteful dissipation. For instance, maybe they started spending right as the relationship began to decline, or the spending increased once you declared your intentions to divorce.
Proving Wasteful Dissipation
As with any legal accusation, you must build a case against your spouse. You will need evidence such as financial documents, witness testimony, pictures, and anything else that can back up your claim. Your spouse, then, will attempt to rebut these allegations with their own evidence.
If you can prove wasteful dissipation in a marriage, you may be entitled to a greater portion of the remaining assets. You could also receive a larger monthly spousal support payment.
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, you must take action. Reach out to Empire Law today to fight for your fair share of marital property. Contact us for more information.