The expression “All’s fair in love and war” could apply equally to divorce. Blindly relying on your spouse to do the right thing could leave you at a severe disadvantage when your marriage ends. If your spouse has hidden assets, you could come out of the divorce with less than you should.
Here’s what everyone needs to consider when there’s a lot of assets at stake in their divorce:
How can I be sure my spouse is not hiding assets?
The only way to be sure your spouse is honest when declaring assets is to hire a forensic accountant. However, most people do not need to go to this extreme. Not only is it an extra expense, but if your spouse finds out, it could create ill-feeling. They may feel you are accusing them of lying.
Here are some pointers as to whether there may be hidden assets:
- How transparent is your spouse about the finances? Do they try to change the subject or give vague answers when you ask them about spending? If they are unwilling to provide you with access to financial information, it may mean they have something to hide. You can check by having your attorney request access through a court.
- How informed are you about finances? If you kept on top of your family finances throughout the marriage, there would be fewer opportunities to blindside you. Consider your relative financial expertise. If you are an investment advisor and your spouse is a music teacher, chances are it would be hard for them to pull the wool over your eyes. However, if you reverse the roles, it may be different.
- What do your instincts tell you? You probably have a gut feeling about whether you can trust your spouse. They say a leopard never changes its spots. If your spouse has shown themself to be untrustworthy with finances before, there is no reason to presume they will not try to cheat you again.
Only you can decide how thoroughly you need to investigate your finances during a divorce. The more complex your assets, the more you might need help to understand them. Do not be afraid to seek advice if unsure. Achieving a fair financial settlement is essential to allow you to move on with your life.