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Four signs your spouse is hiding money

Don't trust your spouse? You certainly aren't the first person to feel that way, especially when faced with a divorce. If your spouse makes significant money and you feel he (or she) is hiding something from you to keep you from accessing your fair share, then you need to investigate, particularly if one of the following is true:

1. Your spouse has recently loaned money to family or friends. Ask yourself: Are those loans real? Concealing assets by transferring or gifting them temporarily to family and friends is a common way for people to hide assets.

2. You've stopped receiving financial statements in the mail. Does your spouse typically do the finances? Even so, if you don't see the documents you used to see coming in the mail, take action to get a copy of your financial statements.

3. Your spouse's business has made a sudden change. Did your spouse's salary suddenly decrease? Did his or her business add new employees? Your spouse could be hiding money by deferring salary/bonuses or creating fake employees. Business deals could also be concealed in order to devalue the business during your divorce.

4. Your spouse is acting differently. When people commit crimes or conceal information, they often start acting defensively in many aspects of their lives. Has your spouse become controlling? Does he or she refuse to talk about money? You know your spouse. If you suspect something, consider your options.

Knowing the ways assets can be hidden helps investigators ask the right questions to uncover them. This can involve accessing income tax returns, accounts in your spouse's name (including checking, savings and credit accounts), business accounts, offshore bank accounts and many other financial records and accounts where funds might be hidden. It also involves analyzing your spouse's lifestyle and expenditures to determine whether they line up with reported income.

Remember: Hiding assets is not hard. Many divorcing spouses do it, and without the right help, it can be difficult to not fall victim to it, no matter your education and experience. An attorney can help you uncover hidden assets and protect your financial rights as you divide your property in divorce.

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