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Is your spouse hiding assets from you?

If you have a spouse who is good with managing money, you may leave your finances as a couple in his or her hands. However, even if your spouse is handling things honestly, that leaves you in the dark whether your marriage ends by death or divorce.

Even spouses who think they are in the loop on the family finances may have a spouse who's hiding money (or debt). Unfortunately, many don't learn the truth until the marriage ends. One study found that 30 percent of couples with combined finances have or are hiding assets or purchases from their partner.

Sometimes even in divorce, spouses continue to try to hide assets to avoid dividing them in the settlement. When spouses don't know the assets exist, they'll have no reason to look for them.

There are many creative ways to hide assets from a spouse. Some people buy expensive items and lie about their value. Spouses sometimes buy valuable art and antiques and downplay their worth, only to ask for them in the divorce.

Sometimes people will move small amounts of money regularly from joint accounts to individual ones the other spouse knows nothing about or even transfer money to friends or family to hold. They may "lend" money to trusted family or friends and ask them not to pay them back until after the divorce

Some people try to alter their income during a divorce. When people are anticipating a divorce, they may ask that a commission or contract not be paid until after it's settled so that they don't have to split it with their spouse.

If one spouse owns a business, there additional ways that they can hide money in the business. If the other spouse isn't involved in the company and if others in the business are kept in the dark or willing to look the other way, people can get away with it.

It's always wise for both spouses to be fully aware of their financial situation. This is smart not just because you may have a spouse who's hiding something, but because everyone should know what they have and what they owe.

If you're considering divorce or you believe your spouse is, and you suspect that he or she hasn't been fully honest, your Arizona family law attorney may recommend bringing a forensic accountant or other financial professional onto your team.

Source: Huffington Post, "Be Smarter: 8 Ways Your Spouse Can Hide Assets Before A Divorce," Roxana Maddahi, accessed March 12, 2018

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