Robert G. Smith, PLLC
212-499-0940

Financial secrets during marriage can impact divorce outcomes

Mistrust among divorcing spouses can be common, even during amicable divorces. However, when a spouse has a history of financial infidelity, mistrust can play an even bigger role in a divorce.

Financial infidelity is becoming more common in America, and could be contributing to numerous divorces each year. Financial infidelity involves secretive acts regarding significant amounts of money or debt. It can include secretly spending money, owning secret credit cards, having secret bank accounts, hiding secret stashes of money or accumulating secret debts, but it does not typically include small secrets, such as a secret birthday gift.

Financial infidelity can affect divorce outcomes

If your spouse kept financial secrets during your marriage, your divorce outcome could be affected in numerous ways. For example, if your spouse racked up credit card bills and accrued other secret debts, you may be expected to help pay off some of these debts. You may seek a larger portion of the marital assets, but the money your spouse secretly spent could have dwindled down these assets, limiting what is available to be divided in divorce. Although these effects may seem bad enough, you could be further prevented from receiving your fair share if your spouse’s financial secrets escalate into hidden assets.

Hidden assets can be brought to light

Although it is illegal, your spouse may have tried to hide assets to prevent them from being divided in your divorce. People typically try to do this by denying the assets exist, transferring assets to someone else, claiming the asset was lost or creating fake debts.

However, if your spouse has tried to hide assets, those actions usually leave a paper trail. If you have access, it can be helpful to check physical hiding places, such as safety deposit boxes, safes within your home and other hiding places for undisclosed property or documents that may reveal undisclosed property. You and your divorce team can also look for evidence of hidden property in your tax returns, mortgage closing documents and other financial records.

Although mistrust can be common among divorcing couples, sometimes that mistrust is warranted. If your spouse kept financial secrets during your marriage, it may be prudent to take steps to ensure you receive a fair divorce outcome.

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