If you're getting a divorce, you may find that your spouse is trying to hide money. This might be to try to leave you short in the divorce settlement or even without any money to buy food. If this is happening to you, here's what you should do.
Understand the Consequences
Hiding money in a divorce is a serious offense. The divorce judge will look very poorly on it, and it may even be a crime in some jurisdictions. The judge may increase the amount of money awarded to the other spouse, especially if they suffered immediate financial harm as a result of the hidden money or if the hidden money makes it hard to determine the true value of the divorce estate.
Don't Hide Money on Your Own
Trying to hide money on your own might seem like a natural reaction to make sure you get what's yours and have enough money to pay your bills while the divorce goes through court. Don't do this. In addition to facing the consequences above, it makes you as equally guilty as your spouse so that you won't receive favorable treatment from the judge.
Seek an Emergency Injunction
If your spouse is trying to hide money, head to a divorce law attorney immediately. Your attorney can help you seek an emergency injunction to stop what your spouse is doing. The court will direct your financial institutions to freeze your joint bank accounts, or you may be allowed to legally withhold a certain amount of money for your own use. You'll also be creating a record of what's going on for later use in your divorce proceedings.
Download All of Your Bank Statements
Download copies of all of your bank statements from every bank and investment account you have. Save them or put printed copies somewhere where your spouse can't access them. This will make it easier to go back and prove how much money you really had if your accounts are drained.
Hire a Forensic Expert
Your attorney can help you win a court order to get your half of your money, but your spouse may have made it hard for you to actually trace that money to get what you owed. Work with an attorney to hire a forensic expert who can trace where the money went, so you can tell the judge which banks to send a judgment to.
To learn more about what to do if your spouse is trying to hide money in a divorce, contact a local divorce law service today.