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Watch out for these ways that your spouse may hide assets

As your divorce looms, you start to worry. How long has your spouse been planning for this? Is he or she hiding assets to keep them from you?

Although your spouse has a legal obligation to honestly divulge all assets, there is a risk that he or she will attempt to skirt the law and keep these hidden assets out of your hands. You need to know how they may be hidden and what you can do to uncover them.

A few common ways that people hide assets include:

  • Fake business expenses. A business owner suddenly has a lot of bills that need to be paid. What you may find is that those owed money are really friends or family members who are planning to give the money back after the divorce.
  • Forgetting about assets you don't see very often. For instance, your spouse may have two different investment portfolios. He or she reports one, but then conveniently "forgets" about the $200,000 in the second account.
  • Giving money away. All of a sudden your spouse is very interested in giving a sibling a loan to start a new business or paying back an old debt to a friend. As with fake expenses, these transfers could actually be temporary.
  • Pulling out small amounts of cash. Maybe your spouse has been planning this for months. Every time he or she hits the ATM, an extra $100 disappears. Your spouse could be stashing that money away. Some people do this for years, just skimming off a little bit at a time so that it goes unnoticed.

These are just four examples, but they show you why it's so crucial to fully understand your financial picture and to know your legal options when you think the law is being broken.

Source: AOL, "10 Easy Ways to Hide Assets From Your Spouse," Robert Pagliarini, accessed Feb. 16, 2018

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