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Is your spouse committing financial fraud?

As you begin thinking about the possibility of an Illinois divorce, you likely have many things to worry about: custody and visitation of your children; spousal support; and equitable division of your marital property. And underneath all this, you may have the uneasy feeling that your spouse may be attempting to hide assets from you.

As the Huffington Post reports, spousal asset hiding is nothing new. It constitutes a form of financial fraud practiced by some greedy or vindictive spouses so as to better their own financial position after a property settlement agreement.

Financial fraud indications

Few asset-hiding spouses have the ability to accomplish their goals without sending out some warning signals. Ask yourself the following six questions about your spouse:

  1. Has (s)he stopped confiding in you?
  2. Have his or her habitual behaviors recently changed?
  3. Have you noticed recent snail mail arriving at the house addressed to him or her from people or companies you have never heard of before?
  4. Alternatively, does (s)he receive less snail mail than usual, indicating that (s)he may have rerouted it to his or her office or somewhere else?
  5. Has (s)he begun getting mysterious phone calls during which (s)he speaks little and then cryptically?
  6. Have you discovered that (s)he has a secret paramour?

All of the above are strong indications that (s)he may be hiding assets from you.

Financial fraud accomplices

Hiding assets requires a good deal of thought and planning, and most spouses cannot accomplish it without the help of others. Even if you have good relationships with your spouse’s extended family, blood really is thicker than water when it comes time for a divorce. Your spouse could be transferring money or property to one or more of his or her parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. His or her friends or co-workers also could be helping. And if you have discovered a secret paramour, this person is a prime candidate for financial collusion with your spouse.

Hiding places

Unfortunately, your spouse has many places at his or her disposal for hiding assets, including the following:

  • Secret bank accounts and/or safe deposit boxes
  • Cash “loans” to accomplices and/or deposits into their bank accounts
  • Online financial and/or brokerage accounts
  • Deferred bonus, commission or other compensation accounts at work

This educational information is not legal advice, but it can help you understand marital financial fraud and what to look for.

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