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Dishonest spouses can take advantage of ex's financial ignorance

In many marriages, one spouse handles all of the finances. This can be part of a division of labor within the relationship, and may be a relief for a husband or wife who does not enjoy keeping track of important assets, such as retirement accounts, bank balances and so on.

Unfortunately, many marriages end in divorce. If you go through divorce without knowing what is in your marital property, and what those assets' values are, you could end up with far less than you deserve. Taking advantage of your ignorance, your ex could try to fraudulently hide assets from you and your divorce attorney.

An article on this subject lists several ways that an unscrupulous spouse may try to hide assets. Here are some of them:

1. Take money out of a joint bank account and put it in an account in his or her name only.

2. Or transfer it to a friend, to hold onto until after the divorce.

3. Delay raises, promotions, or big commissions until after the proceedings.

4. Exaggerate or invent debts and other expenses.

5. “Forget” about valuable items, such as stock options, that the other spouse may not know about.

The best way to prevent being soaked by this kind of fraud is to know as much about the marital assets as possible. If you are considering divorce, it is time to start gathering copies of account statements and other important documents. A divorce attorney can provide advice about what information you need, as well as next steps.

Source: DailyFinance, “10 Easy Ways to Hide Assets From Your Spouse,” Robert Pagliarini, April 1, 2014

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