Going through a divorce is never easy. Not only does divorce cause emotional unrest, but it can also result in stress related to property division. Understanding marital property laws and assigning assets fairly can be a confusing and complicated process. It’s important for assets to be fairly negotiated and valued before being divided.
One thing that can make the process even more stressful is when a spouse hides marital property to cause an imbalanced division. Know the warning signs of this activity so that you do not end up in an unfair position. Here are six behaviors to watch out for.
1. Purchasing expensive items
Your spouse might buy flashy items and you think nothing of it. Maybe he or she shows up with a new car or set of jewelry. Take a look at your spouse’s buying habits. He or she may be purchasing items that you could overlook. This is a common tactic that is taken to undervalue your marital assets.
2. Using a post office box
Having a post office box is pretty normal, right? While that may be true, spouses can use post office boxes as a means of hiding marital assets. An immediate red flag is if your spouse receives bills and account statements at the post office box address.
3. Deleting financial records
Many couples use accounting programs on their computers to keep track of their finances. Make sure that the program does not get deleted. Your spouse may claim that the program crashed or was deleted on accident.
4. Creating false debt
Your spouse may plot with friends or family members to establish phony debt. This may be done through creating loans or expenses. Your spouse can then make payments to the involved parties and get the money back once the divorce is finished.
5. Keeping online accounts secret
While everyone has certain boundaries regarding privacy, you should be wary if your spouse is overwhelmingly protective and controlling of information. Refusing to provide bank account information is a telltale sign of covering up assets.
6. Transferring stock
Just as with creating phony debt, your spouse may be guaranteeing repayment following the divorce by transferring investment accounts. You may notice stock getting transferred into the names of business partners or family members.
Property division should be fair. There are items of both sentimental and financial value that you may be concerned about. If you are worried that your spouse may be trying to undermine the assets you receive, you may want to get help from an experienced marital property lawyer .