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Financial deception during divorce is not unusual

A soon-to-be ex-spouse often finds it difficult to admit that a once-loved partner is capable of deceit during divorce.

Deceptive spouses may hope to ignite emotional confusion, according to some divorce and money experts. Analysts assert that sneaky tactics in marital asset division happen in more marriages than many divorcing spouses realize. However, Brooklyn residents may find that gaining financial instruction and seeking legal help are tools spouses can use to make sure a property settlement is equitable.

The author of a legal primer for uncovering hidden assets, The Forensic Accounting Deskbook, believes some spouses -- most of them women -- fear to acknowledge, suspect or accuse an ex of shady money patterns.

The most vulnerable spouses have little knowledge of the marital money flow. If one spouse controls finances, assets are easier to hide. Some manipulative spouses leave signs of money misappropriation that can lead to secreted income or debt.

Spouses who downplay or refuse to share financial information could be trying to hide transactions or accounts. Blocking, deleting or removing financial data from a home computer makes a spouse suspicious.

Sudden spending extremes to deplete a credit line may be part of a plan to upset the asset cart before divorce. A reported downward spiral in the value of a business or stock portfolio signals an attempt to falsely devalue assets.

Asset hiders like financial privacy preferring separate mailing addresses, safe deposit boxes or bank accounts that unaware spouses are not supposed to find or access.

The goal of a spouse who juggles marital books is to appear poor with an insurmountable debt load in time to avoid sharing marital property or paying support. Stashing cash without recording it, deferring income or revenue and selling or lending an asset to a relative or friend are methods asset tricksters use. Legal experts say some spouses begin to manipulate money long before divorce is a consideration. Hints of money misappropriation exist, but are deciphered only when a spouse chooses not to ignore them.

Source: forbes.com, "21 Signs That Your Husband May Be Hiding Marital Assets During Your Divorce," Jeff Landers, March 20, 2012

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