Is your spouse hiding marital property?
Studies show that many people hide money and assets from their spouse or partner during divorce.
In Georgia, when two people decide that they no longer want to be married to one another, they can file a petition for divorce. The State Bar of Georgia states that marital property is divided equitably between the two spouses. Spouses may make the assumption that equitably means the property will be divided in half, but in reality, a judge may decide to give some, most or all of the property to a spouse.
As a result of this, some spouses may try to save marital property for themselves and hide it in a variety of ways from their ex. To make sure that all marital property is included in the division process and that it is properly evaluated, spouses should be on the lookout for signs that their ex is hiding it.
More common than thought
Forbes points out that a study revealed spouses often hide money, purchases, bills and other information from their spouse or partner. The study also claims that most spouses who behave this way are men. This is because women are more trusting and don’t think that their spouse is capable of such deception. They will often accept stories offered by their soon-to-be ex when something doesn’t seem to add up.
One way that spouses can protect themselves and ensure there are legal consequences, is to make sure the other spouse signs a legal document called a financial affidavit. If the spouse signs this document and then lies or does not disclose all finances and marital property assets, that spouse could be charged with committing perjury.
Spouses, however, should not count on a legal document signed by their spouse as proof that the spouse is being honest. There are several things that can act as a red flag warning and these include the following:
- The spouse tries to get the other spouse to sign a financial document without time to review it.
- Financial accounting programs like Quickbooks are suddenly deleted
- A spouse receives financial statements and other mail at a separate address not accessible to the other spouse
- Claims the family business is struggling financially when before it seemed to be doing fine
- Suggests an estate plan where there is an execution of mutual durable power of attorneys
- Has a gambling or drug problem
There are other signs that a spouse may be hiding assets or money during the divorce. For example, if a spouse starts traveling to another country, opening new personal or bank accounts, buying expensive items, withdrawing large amounts of money or claims that investment values have dropped, then the spouse is probably hiding marital property.
To protect themselves from a dishonest spouse, people in the metro Atlanta area should speak with one of the attorneys at Margaret Gettle Washburn, P.C., who can help them understand their legal options and rights.