Monday, May 7, 2012

What Do I Do When My Spouse Hides Assets?

It used to be a lot easier to hide assets and money from your spouse.  Often, it took a lot of detective work, subpoenas and forensic accountants to uncover the true nature of your spouse's assets.  Now as more people use online banking and online access to financial and real estate records, putting together a dossier of a person's actual financial picture can be done in a cost-effective way.  Last week, the Wall Street Journal focused on this issue in its Wealth Adviser Section article Why Hiding Money From Your Spouse Has Gotten a Lot Harder.

The article cites to some interesting statistics, including

  • 31% of adults who have combined assets admitting they have been deceptive about money;
  • 58% of those adults admit they hid cash;
  • 15% of those adults hid a bank account; and
  • 34% of them lied about finances, debt or money earned.

With the exception of hiding cash, these statistics play directly into the ever expanding world of "e-discovery" that is used in the practice of law - the production of electronic records and information.  As odd as it seems, the low-tech method of cash stored in a shoe box in your attic (which I have seen employed by plenty of individuals over the years) seems to be one of the better methods to hide your money these days.

The Wall Street Journal also looks at statistics tied to lawsuits, including

  • 92% of divorce lawyers seeing more cases using evidence from smart phones in the past 3 years; and
  • 66% of the lawyers citing Facebook as the top source of compromising information online.

With all of the information available online and the ability to quickly get access to this information, it is important to consider all of the information you post online, no matter what forum.  It's no longer just your employer that is monitoring you, it is likely your spouse as well.

For more information on family law and the discovery of assets or to schedule a consultation, please call the office (718.568.0221) or visit my website ( for more information.

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