How to hide money from a spouse
Hiding assets in a marriage can start with how the couple manages their finances.
In cases where a spouse hides assets, that spouse often runs all of the finances: pays bills, makes the investments, chooses life insurance coverage, manages the relationship with an accountant for preparing and filing tax returns, and maintains “independent” financial resources (credit card and bank account in his or her own name). That spouse knows everything about the couples’ financial assets, debts and income. The other spouse knows little or nothing and simply relies upon his or her partner for financial matters.
This may seem like a harmless division of labor. But it makes it easy for the spouse in charge of finances to start hiding assets if the marriage starts to flounder. That person is in a position to open separate accounts, make individual investments, siphon cash and savings of joint assets, develop separate assets and pockets of wealth in plain sight of his/her unsuspecting spouse.
Why is your spouse hiding assets?
Sometimes a spouse hides assets because the marriage starts to crumble and one or both partners begin to think about divorce. It can happen when one of the partners is incapable of making a shared financial life and insists on assets, credit cards, etc., in separate names or one of the spouses may have a secret or semi-secret life with money–gambling engaging in expensive substance abuse habits, acquiring a lover and spending lavishly on the lover.
Know your finances to protect yourself
So the most important message is: don’t let this imbalanced financial situation happen in your marriage. Even if your spouse takes a lead in managing finances, paying bills and choosing investments, make sure that you are informed. You should know the identity and balances of all bank accounts, whether individual or joint. Create and maintain an updated list of all investments, retirement accounts and insurance policies. Talk to your accountant and insist that he or she explain the items on your tax returns so that you know what is included and why. Keep records or credit card bills for each car you or your spouse uses. Ideally, you should be agreeing to any significant expenses either of you make.
Being an active and knowledgeable partner about money matters in your marriage, while not fool-proof, is an effective way to prevent your spouse from hiding assets during your marriage. And, if you and your spouse do divorce, your active role in finances will help you uncover any assets your spouse hid right under your nose!
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Copyright 2022 by Kelly & Knaplund