It may be fraud to hide assets during a divorce, but people still do it. If you're worried that your spouse is stashing away money before the split, you should know that it may be an even bigger risk than you realized. Your spouse may be putting your financial future in jeopardy.
One of the most common ways to hide money is to give it to friends or family members. Sometimes your spouse calls it a loan. Sometimes it's called a repayment for an old debt that was suddenly remembered. Sometimes your spouse says that he or she hired that friend for something -- like a business consultation -- and that's just the fee.
No matter the excuse, the end goal for your spouse is just to get that money back when he or she is officially your ex. The friend or family member keeps it, removing it from the estate, until the paperwork is finalized. Then that person simply transfers it back to your ex with some thin excuse, cutting you out of your share.
This is already bad enough, but experts point out that a big part of the risk here is that the money does legally change hands. If your spouse voluntarily gives it to a friend, that friend can spend it. Yes, they have an under-the-table handshake deal to send it back, but that's far from official. The friend may decide he or she wants nothing more to do with your spouse, take the money and leave town.
Situations like this make the divorce incredibly complicated, even when you uncover the attempted fraud. Make sure you know all of your legal options.
Source: Ask Men, "Divorce Rights: Opening A Secret Bank Account," Nick Kennedy, accessed Dec. 15, 2017