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Is your spouse hiding assets from you?

When spouses begin to think about divorce, financial considerations loom large for both of them. This is especially true when significant assets are involved. Although, like most states, New York mandates equitable distribution of marital property, divorcing couples often disagree as to what is equitable and which property should be considered marital. Some spouses take this disagreement so far that they begin hiding assets or income they do not want to share. Taking note of some common warning signs can alert you so that you can take action before all the assets disappear forever.

Missing Records

Suddenly, important papers are missing or financial data is erased from the computer. Your spouse is dismissive, offers vague explanations and makes no attempt to restore the information. Make no mistake: Your financial records did not just get up and walk away. This is a red flag that indicates that your spouse does not want you to have access to the files.

Unexplained changes

Especially if you have been married for a long time, you probably know your family's normal spending patterns. If you begin noticing unexplained transactions on your accounts, your spouse could be withdrawing money to put in a secret account, purchase assets or simply waste just so you do not get it.

Claiming decreased income

Faced with the prospect of divorce, your spouse may start claiming that his or her income has decreased. Do not take this at face value: Ask for proof. Such claims are especially suspicious if the spouse shows no inclination to cut down on spending as most people would when faced with reduced income.

Unwillingness to communicate

Each family has its own arrangements about who handles the finances. Even when this task is the area of one spouse, the other is still entitled to know the ins and outs of the family finances. If your spouse handles finances and does not allow you access to account information, he or she may be hiding something. You should have all the passwords and be able to check up anytime. Making transactions or purchases without letting you know and then refusing to explain is also a warning signal for suspicious activity. In general, any sudden changes in how finances are handled that your spouse does not provide an adequate explanation for are red flags to watch for.

If you are planning a divorce, t ake proactive steps to protect your financial interests. An experienced attorney can help you understand your rights and take action to safeguard them to the fullest extent.

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