What do you do when your spouse is hiding, disposing of, stealing, transferring, dissipating, wasting marital assets and running up huge amount of debt?
You need to act immediately!
Go to court and get the judge to stop your spouse. You should get a COURT ORDER now to protect and preserve your assets and finances. The Court order will prohibit your spouse from disposing, depleting, wasting, hiding, and dissipating assets and accounts and running up debts. It will preserve the marital funds and finances. That way if your spouse manipulates marital assets, he/she will have violated the court order. Your spouse can then be held in contempt of court. He or she can be sanctioned by the court for violating the court non-dissipation of assets order. The Court can impose sanctions that can include jail time.
You need to cut off credit cards or get your name off the joint cards and other jointly held liabilities. Contact your credit card companies and tell them you are legally separated and you should no longer be responsible for any further debts on those cards.
You need to freeze bank accounts.
You can withdraw funds from joint accounts and put them into your separate account titled or registered in your name only. You are doing this for safe keeping to preserve the funds. Just don’t squander those assets that are now in your sole account. You are the safe keeper.
You should take pictures and videos of all items tangible personal property in your house or apartment before your spouse takes stuff, sells it, and claims it was lost or never existed. Spouses will often steal property and give it to a friend or family member and then get it returned after divorce. Spouses will often sell property and pocket the sales’ proceeds.
Become the detective. You need to gather evidence–all documents that prove your spouse is hiding money, recklessly spending, transferring money or assets. In fact, when your spouse is away, rent a copy machine and make copies of every document you can find in your house dealing with finances. You can do your own investigation to search for assets (but you may need to hire a professional).
Obtain all bank, credit union, investment, retirement account documents going back a few years. Get all credit card statements going back a few years. These are easily obtained on line. Look at every item line by line to see suspicious spending or debt. Go back in time as far as you can go to get documents to see how long and how much your spouse has been doing hiding or spending down money or assets.
Get emails or text messages from yor spouse (don’t break any passwords or put spy ware on computers-make sure that you are obtaining information legally!) showing an intent to deprive your of money or assets-“By the time I am finished you will not get a dime!” This shows his or her intent to waste marital assets.
Find witnesses whom your spouse has told, “I am going to do whatever I can to make sure my spouse gets nothing.”
Order your credit report from each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. This will show you debts you owe in your name, including joint accounts you share with your spouse. This will prevent surprises after the divorce when you receipt bills for credits cards and other debts. Without your knowledge, your spouse may have signed your name to a credit card in your name.
Hire a forensic accountant. Your forensic account will locate hidden assets. They will begin by reviewing financial records like bank statements and credit card statements and other documents. He or she will dig deeper to find assets. You can also hire firms that perform asset searches . Your divorce lawyer should set up a strategic plan of action and hire the right experts to locate hidden assets and hidden money to follow the money.
Subpoena records from third parties, such as hotels and airlines.
Gather information so that you can show your spouses non-marital expenditures and depletion of your assets.
Don’t’ let them take your money!