Typically, the greater number of high-value and complex assets a Massachusetts married couple has, the more complicated property division is during Massachusetts divorce.
Property division may be an especially difficult process if the spouses do not agree on how property should be divided or are not willing to be honest and forthcoming about property and debt. A spouse who is planning to divorce may attempt to conceal income or hide assets in order to prevent these assets from being factored into the divorce settlement.
Here are some warning signs to look out for should you suspect your spouse of hiding assets.
One Spouse Handles The Majority of the Financial Transactions
In many marriages, one spouse handles the finances while the other spouse manages other responsibilities. Although this division of labor works well for many married couples, it can also leave one spouse completely out of the loop when it comes to money issues. If you have traditionally allowed your spouse to pay the bills, file tax returns, and make major financial decisions without your input, this can leave you at a major disadvantage during divorce. It may be a good idea to investigate financial documents like tax returns and look for clues that reveal potential financial deception. For example, you may find that your spouse owns property that you are not aware of through an itemized deduction involving property taxes.
Unusual Behavior and Other Red Flags
A spouse may lie about finances in order to gain an unfair property division arrangement or pay less than his or her fair share of child support or spousal maintenance. He or she may overstate debts and expenses, hide or undervalue property, and report lower than actual income. However, falsifying financial data during divorce can be hard to do without leaving at least some clues behind. Red flags that may hint at financial deception include:
- Unusual bank activity such as frequent withdrawals or transfers
- Missing account statements and other financial documents
- Cash or property being gifted to friends and relatives
- Defensive and secretive behavior regarding finances
- Increased international travel
- Changes to computer and smartphone passwords
- Mail being rerouted to a different address
Should you be in the midst of a divorce or contemplating divorce, contact the Law Offices of Renee Lazar at 978-844-4095 to schedule a FREE one hour no obligation consultation.