Though it might not seem so to the parties involved, divorce is mainly a financial matter. For those divorcing without minor-aged children, it's even more so that way. With that in mind, full financial honesty is a key component of a fair divorce. Read on and find out more.
What Are They Hiding?
Even the most open and honest of relationships can hold secrets. Some may lead to divorce and many remain hidden for the time being. It's common for divorce lawyers to ask both parties to fully disclose everything about their joint and personal financial situations. The information is used to craft agreements and court orders pertaining to child support, spousal support, debt assignments, and property divisions. Without full disclosure, the divorce won't be fair. Some couples may either purposely or accidentally hide the following information from their spouse and even from the judge, in some cases:
- When a couple or a party owns a business, it can be easy to keep private accounts with assets and valuations of the business from the other spouse.
- If you are unable to access a joint or personal account you previously had access to, be wary. For example, some couples share info about their 401(k) balance but then, suddenly, they don't. Know that, in most cases, a retirement account is considered a marital asset regardless of who worked for the funds in the account. Changed passwords and locked file cabinets are another sign of things being hidden.
- If your spouse becomes defensive when you ask about assets, they might be uncomfortable about full disclosure. Be particularly concerned if you notice your spouse purchasing expensive items. They might be charging the things they want using credit that you are partially responsible for paying back. Speak to your divorce lawyer about using a legal separation agreement to protect your credit vulnerabilities.
What to Do?
In addition to creating a legal separation agreement, spouses can take legal action to protect their financial interests. If you suspect your spouse of hiding assets, speak to your attorney about it. The judge may order your spouse's financial records subpoenaed. In rare and complex financial situations, a forensic accountant may also be brought in to examine your spouse's financial records to locate marital assets. Don't get taken advantage of by a spouse that might or might not be hiding things on purpose. Speak to your divorce lawyer in charge of your case to find out more.