Is your spouse hiding assets from you? It’s possible. Financial infidelity is more common than you might think. In fact, a recent study found that 15 million people are hiding money from their live-in partners in financial accounts such as checking and savings accounts. Many spouses move money around because they believe that it will protect them in a divorce, but you may be able to track down the assets that they’ve hidden if you know where to look.
Here are a few of the places where your spouse (or soon-to-be ex-spouse) may be hiding money.
Creating debt that isn’t there
Now that you think about it, your spouse seems to have a lot of debt. And, even though you both live comfortable lives, they owe more than a few family members and friends substantial amounts of money. Spouses can hide money from their partners for whatever reason by creating phony debt. When the divorce finalizes, they ask the fake debt collectors for their money back.
Lavishing themselves and others with gifts
Your spouse may try to hide assets by purchasing lavish gifts that they believe will go overlooked and undervalued in a divorce such as antiques, coin collections or furniture. Likewise, they may extend their generosity by giving gifts to family members and friends as a way to move money around.
Overpaying the IRS and creditors
Tax season is upon us. Your spouse may seize the opportunity to commit financial infidelity by overpaying the IRS in estimated tax payments and other creditors and underreporting their income. Investigating your spouse’s finances may help you determine if your spouse is overpaying the IRS and creditors now only to expect a refund later as a means of shielding assets in a divorce.
Deferring salary and new income
It’s the New Year, which, for some, means new employment contracts. But if your spouse is set to sign a new contract or is expecting to receive a hefty commission or bonus check, they might try to put it off. Your spouse may defer receiving additional income until you’re officially their ex-spouse.
If you believe that your spouse is committing financial infidelity, consulting with an experienced, high-asset divorce attorney and financial planner may be a good idea. A financial planner can help you calculate the sources of incomes, loans and assets compared to living expenses to see if there are any red flags. By thoroughly reviewing your finances, you can have a better idea of where money is going in your marriage.