It’s a common misconception that the divorce process also deals with the finances. In fact, the two are completely separate processes. In order to sort out the finances, there must be an exchange of financial information between the spouses. This is known as financial disclosure, and is designed to ensure that both spouses have a clear understanding of what assets and income they each have. That way, there’s the best possible chance of an honest and fair financial agreement being made.
But as the saying goes; money makes a good servant, but a bad master. Where finances are a source of contention in a divorce, it’s not unheard of for a spouse to hide the assets they have in order to avoid a fair settlement.
If you’re concerned that your spouse isn’t being entirely honest, here are three common signs that they could be hiding assets.
They’re being secretive about finances
If you’ve previously always had an open conversation when it comes to finances, this is a pretty big red flag. Ask yourself; have you noticed that your access to information is decreasing? Do you have access to the financial paperwork, such as bank statements or mortgage redemption figures? It might not happen overnight. But if you find yourself repeatedly asking for information that your spouse can’t provide, this might be a sign that something’s amiss.
The same goes when it comes to joint accounts. If you notice any changes to the passwords or log in details, without explanation, questions need to be asked. If you know money’s going to be an issue, it’s a good idea to regularly check in on these accounts to ensure that you still have access and they aren’t being abused.
If you still receive statements and financial information by post, keep your eye on what’s coming in. Has it decreased? Or stopped altogether? It’s possible that your spouse has redirected your information to a separate address to keep you in the dark.
Transferring finances or assets to children or other family members
If assets that have been previously jointly owned (for example, property or business shares) are suddenly passed on to other members of your family, it might be that your spouse is trying to create an image of reduced value.
The same goes for any assets that are held in their sole name. You might notice that money has been moved from accounts without warning. Or has even disappeared into thin air (this could be a sign of overseas accounts at play).
Changes to spending behaviour.
You know your lifestyle better than anyone. If things start becoming ‘unaffordable’ and you suddenly can’t do the things you’ve always done because of ‘finances’, open up a dialogue as to why.
A change to spending behaviour might take the form of more gifts, or mysterious ‘debts’ to family and friends suddenly being paid off. Or even large outlandish purchases that are out of character.
You know your relationship better than anyone. As such, you’ll know what’s in and out of character for your spouse. If you’re concerned that something’s not quite right, it’s absolutely vital that you alert your solicitor. After all, we’re talking about an agreement that is likely to dictate your future. Anything less than full financial disclosure is unacceptable.
For expert advice and guidance on your divorce proceedings, contact the team at Harrogate Family Law.