It is illegal to hide money from a spouse when going through a divorce. It’s also immoral. But people do it all the time. They do it for lots of reasons, like lowering payments for child support and/or maintenance, but mainly, they do it because they just don’t want to share.
Should you suspect that your spouse is hiding money from you, be sure to get the proof. Below are five tips which can help you to determine if your spouse is hiding money, and to help you collect the documentation necessary to prove it.
1. A spouse may ask their employer to hold back income or commissions on earnings as a means of showing a lower annual income to the court at the time of a divorce. If you don’t already know how much money your spouse makes in a year, you should look at last year’s taxes. Then be on the alert for any signs that he or she is suddenly bringing home less money than before. Does your spouse normally receive bonus or incentive checks from their employers? It is possible that your spouse has requested only partial payment or has cashed these checks separately and placed the money into an account where it cannot be traced back to him or her.
2. Check to see if you spouse is suddenly short of cash, perhaps taking more ATM withdrawals than normal or taking them from places outside of their regular travel areas. Be sure to check your bank records regularly to determine if money has been removed from your accounts. Review all the mail that comes into the house. Be sure that all the financial statements for any accounts, bank accounts, 401ks, IRAs, CDs, stocks, whatever, are arriving, and be sure that no money has been removed from these accounts. Be sure that you know at all times how much money is your checking and savings accounts. Be on the look out for money that goes missing from your accounts, even if it’s a small amount, as your spouse could be taking money out a little at a time.
3. Check email accounts and web histories. See where they might be spending or placing money. Also, check for credit cards that you may not have been aware were in existence. Also, be sure you know how much debt you have on credit cards. This could be an issue if your spouse is taking cash advances from the cards or if they are making large purchases on the cards. You can get stuck with half the debt.
4. Get copies of the last three to five years of tax returns. If you can’t find your copies, call the IRS.
5. Check for other shenanigans. Like checking safe deposit boxes and making sure you have a record of the contents. Review all your insurance policies. Get copies of your credit report.
Finally, keep great records, but don’t confront your spouse with the info you find. Take it to your attorney.