Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Your spouse may be hiding money from you

Many couples in New Jersey plan to establish a little nest egg or rainy day fund with their disposable income. Unfortunately, not many are able to come up with enough disposable income to make much of a fund. Nevertheless, when marriages become troubled, it is surprising how many people are able to find assets to stash away from their spouse's grasp.

Hiding money or other assets during a divorce is against the law. Still, nearly 70 percent of all marriages have at least one account that one spouse does not know about.

Where to look for hidden assets

Even if you don't think your spouse has the income to funnel money to offshore accounts or purchase real estate without you knowing it, he or she may still have some money stashed away to keep you from receiving your fair share of the marital estate. Some common ways spouses hide money include:

  • Safety deposit boxes
  • Loans to friends and family members
  • Paypal accounts
  • Investments
  • Bank accounts in different banks or even different towns

The less money you and your spouse have, the harder it is for your spouse to hide it from you. However, if you aren't sure exactly how much money you spouse earns, he or she may find it easier to skim some of that income into a private account.

Show me the money

If you have skills to navigate the internet, perhaps you will stumble across some information that will lead you to some of your spouse's hidden assets. You may have success by searching in one of these ways:

  • Check email accounts and text histories for messages from banks, brokers or Paypal.
  • Search your spouse's browser history or Smartphone cache for virtual visits to unusual banks or investment companies.
  • Watch your partner's social media pages for evidence of extravagant spending.
  • Install phone tracking software to follow your spouse's movements to unfamiliar ATMs or banks.
  • Install keylogger software to enable you to retrace your spouse's online searches.

While some of these may be within your skill set, the better course of action may be to hire an attorney who has the resources to do in-depth searches to locate secret accounts. An experienced attorney will also know what to do with the information and how to use it in such a way as to maximize the benefits for you when the time comes for property division and other divorce settlement issues.

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