Financial conflict plays a role in the demise of many marriages. Hidden financial assets or “financial infidelity” can wreak havoc on a relationship. Financial infidelity refers to when a partner hides assets or has a secret bank account or credit card. Studies show that it is a problem affecting many people.
A widespread issue
A new report finds that an estimated 15 million Americans have a hidden credit card or bank account. Another 9 million in that study admit they have had secret accounts in the past. Looking closer at the participants, it also shows a growing problem based on age: Baby Boomers are guilty at a rate of 17 percent, the Generation X age group at 24 percent and 31 percent of Millennials admitting such accounts. Hiding assets is often a symptom of a bigger problem, such as communication issues, a lack of trust or addiction.
Considering that so many people hide money during their relationship, it is often the case that many are hiding or attempting to hide assets in divorce. As an equitable distribution state, property acquired during marriage in North Carolina belongs to both partners and it should be divided equitably – fairly – in divorce. In some cases, one spouse may hide money believing he or she can shield it from distribution in the divorce.
Hidden assets in divorce
Individuals may move money, or may lend it to a friend or other family member, to protect their own interests in a divorce. The courts do not take the disruption of the financial status quo lightly in a divorce.
Fortunately, an experienced divorce attorney understands the financial shell game is a potential challenge and can help you to monitor your financial assets as you go through a divorce. Knowing what tools to use in the discovery process, understanding potential financial pitfalls and maneuvering and a bit of good detective work can assist in developing a comprehensive financial picture.
Untangling finances can be complex, but it pays to be thorough. In divorce, it’s essential to have a complete financial picture so each side gets the settlement they deserve. Family law attorneys often work with financial experts including forensic accountants and CPAs to evaluate income, cash flow and expenses. If you suspect that your spouse may be guilty of financial infidelity, it is critical to get expert advice and counsel to address your concerns and protect yourself against continuing financial issues.