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Recognizing signs of hidden assets in a high asset divorce

When a couple is heading for a divorce or is in the midst of a divorce in Washington State, how the proceeding will play itself out in regards to money is a common concern. Finances are a topic of dispute at the end of a marriage in any case, but if it is a high asset divorce, there are many issues that will come up like dividing property, retirement accounts, savings, stocks and other assets. Knowing what signs to look for if there are hidden assets and financial trickery going on can help avoid problems later on.

A report from CreditCards.com has found that an increasing number of divorces are caused by financial problems such as one spouse hiding information from the other. As many as six percent of couples who were married involved one member of the partnership hiding money and even going so far as to hide accounts. In addition, one-fourth of married people believe that there's nothing wrong with spending as much as $500 without informing the spouse. Spouses who are suspicious that this might be occurring can look for signs of this type of behavior. Getting to the mail first, trying to hide what they're doing on the computer and other small, eyebrow-raising acts are signs.

Seeking the joint credit report information can provide a window into what's happening. If a spouse has a separate credit account, it will show up. There's also the possibility that the money is tied up in stock accounts or in a retirement account. If a high asset divorce looks inevitable, there are numerous ways in which one spouse might try to get as much as possible without the other spouse's knowledge. It doesn't necessarily have to be large, gaudy purchases that a person who is hiding assets might make. Smaller purchases are harder to find, but could be just as costly.

Being able to recognize these behaviors during a marriage or after the decision has been made to consider a divorce can save a lot of time, money and inconvenience later on. Recognizing the signals is often not enough to avoid the pitfalls of hidden financial activities in a high asset divorce or a divorce of more modest means. Discussing the matter with a legal advocate may help an individual work through this difficult terrain and smooth the divorce process.

Source: mainstreet.com, "Is Your Spouse Hiding Money and Assets From You? It's More Likely Than You Think," Nicholas Pell, April 23, 2015

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