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Is your spouse hiding assets from you?

Dividing up marital assets is one of the many aspects of a divorce. In an equitable property state, such as Colorado, marital assets get divided according to what the court deems as fair, depending on the couple's personal and financial circumstances. In an effort to keep as many assets as possible, some people resort to hiding assets from their spouse.

Although this is illegal, it is a relatively common practice. Anyone who is going through a divorce needs to be aware of activities that signify a soon-to-be ex-spouse might be hiding money. One study revealed that 30 percent of adults with combined finances have hidden assets from their partners. One common way is to hide a credit card -- something over four million men and nearly three million women have admitted to. Here are some other ways people have tried to hide assets from their spouses.

Lending or giving money to friends and family

Some people try to shrink their bank account balances by lending or outright giving money to family members or close friends. These people might use the money, or not, but the idea is to get the money back after their divorce is final. This might be done gradually, or as a larger gift or loan. In any case, it's a good idea to watch for these types of transactions with relatives your spouse seems close to.

Undervaluing expensive purchases

If your spouse has suddenly taken up antiquing, art collection, or has been buying any other valuable items, you may want to double check some of these purchases. Some people will buy things and act as if they are far less valuable than they are, all while knowing they will be able to resell the items later and get their money back.

Overpaying the IRS

While many people inadvertently overpay the IRS, most are excited about getting their refund the following year. But some overpay on purpose and ask that they money be applied to their tax bill in future years. It is especially important to look out for this behavior if your spouse owns their own business or works as an independent contractor.

Transferring money to an individual account

This is one of the most obvious ways a person might try to hide assets from their spouse. In some cases, this may be an account that the spouse doesn't know about. In other cases, they might just be hoping that their spouse will be too busy worrying about other things to pay attention.

In addition to these tactics, people have also been known to hide money in their businesses, delay bonus or commission checks until the divorce is final, and take out insurance policies that can later be converted to cash. A good divorce lawyer will know all of these tricks, and how to look for signs that your spouse might have one or more of them up their sleeve. Catching as many of these as possible will increase the chances that your marital assets will be divided as they should.

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