When you moved to the D.C./Virginia area as a newlywed, you and your spouse likely had goals for your future. Perhaps you wanted to start a family right away or lay the groundwork for a business start-up plan. No matter what your particular dreams happen to include, you and your spouse have likely worked hard since then to make it all happen.
Like many married couples, as time went on and various life changes occurred, you may have encountered problems in your relationship. While you may have been able to overcome some of the issues, others may have proved irreparable, which may have led to your decision to divorce. If your spouse has made a few threatening comments regarding finances since you filed papers in court, you’ll want to make sure you protect your assets before property division proceedings begin.
Be aware of common tactics
While you may have wanted to amicably end your relationship with your spouse, it can be near impossible to do so without a fight if he or she is being underhanded and trying to keep you from getting what is rightfully yours in a settlement. By keeping a close eye on the following issues, you may be able to bring a hidden asset problem to a screeching halt:
- If your spouse’s pay check stubs are showing more earnings than he or she is bringing home, you may want to inquire about the difference. Deferring compensation is a common means of hiding assets in divorce.
- When tax time rolls around, make sure your spouse is not overpaying. This is another trick asset hiders use to keep money from being subjected to property division; an overpayment will become a refund after the divorce is final.
- Some people simply hide cold hard cash to try to keep it away from their spouses in divorce. If you suspect a hidden asset problem, start looking in drawers, attic space, vehicles or any place you think of where your spouse might stash cash.
- If you review your jointly owned bank statement and notice withdrawals of which you were not aware, it definitely warrants further investigation.
One way to address this type of problem is to confront it head-on. You can ask your spouse to explain his or her actions or to answer your questions regarding missing money or other issues. If your spouse gets defensive or becomes quite angry, it may be a sign that your suspicions have merit. It is illegal to hide assets in divorce, so beyond trying to discuss the matter with your spouse, you can also bring the problem to the court’s immediate attention.