When people don't want to share their money and other assets during a divorce, there's one way they can get around splitting what they have with their spouses: They just hide the assets. Then, when everything goes through the property division process, those assets are safe and stashed away.
Sound illegal? If so, that's because it is. This is certainly not something you should do, though the National Endowment for Financial Education did a study and found that it happened in an astounding 2 out of every 3 cases.
So, if you weren't worried that your spouse was trying to hide assets from you before, you may be now. There are things you can do to help find these assets and expose them. For instance, you can:
-- Check bank records, something that can often be done with online banking.
-- Check your spouse's smartphone to find evidence that funds were moved around. According to the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers, 90 percent of lawyers claimed their clients turned to smartphone records to find financial information.
-- Look at all of the email reports that you get about joint account information. For example, if your spouse uses PayPal to send money from your joint account to another account, you may get a receipt email documenting the move.
Remember, hiding assets is against the law, no matter how your spouse may rationalize it. You have a right to a fair split. When you think your spouse has tried to under-report his or her assets, make sure you know what legal options you have to get to the bottom of things.
Source: The Huffington Post, "Uncovering Hidden Assets in Divorce Litigation," David Centeno, accessed Dec. 07, 2016