What to do if your spouse is hiding money?
If you suspect your partner is hiding money or other assets, it is difficult to do much about it unless you are going through a divorce
process. The first step is to try to raise your concerns with your partner and see how they react. If you have concerns about their behaviour, then it is a good idea to get legal advice.
Potential signs of hiding money
Suspecting a partner may be hiding assets can be a distressing situation, often marked by subtle yet telling signs.
One red flag could be keeping secret credit cards, bank accounts, or investment accounts that the other spouse is unaware of. Sudden and unexplained changes in spending patterns, such as withdrawing large sums or making unusual purchases, might raise suspicions about undisclosed financial activities.
A partner's refusal to share financial information or their evasiveness when questioned about money matters can contribute to the uncertainty. Keeping important financial documents or records hidden only adds to the suspicion, making it challenging for the other spouse to gain a comprehensive understanding of what’s going on.
Additionally, hidden debts, characterised by sudden shifts in spending behaviour or taking out loans without explanation, could be indicative of concealed financial activities. Avoidance of discussions related to money or financial matters may further exacerbate concerns and prompt a deeper investigation into potential asset concealment.
Hiding assets in divorce
When suspicions arise that a partner may be hiding assets during divorce proceedings, there are legal measures you can take to protect assets.
Search orders, though less common and involve a complex application process, can be pursued if there is clear evidence of a spouse planning to destroy crucial documents, like share certificates revealing their assets. This process may include entering a property to search for and retrieve pertinent documents.
Freezing orders, on the other hand, are applicable when there is evidence that a spouse intends to dispose of assets during the divorce process. A solicitor can seek an interim injunction, also known as a freezing order, which prevents the spouse from disposing of or dealing with assets. Failure to comply with this order may result in contempt of court and potential imprisonment.
An Avoidance of Disposition Order is a court order preventing either party from disposing of assets during divorce proceedings, aiming to prevent actions that might deprive the other party of assets or remove assets from the court's jurisdiction. Success in obtaining such an order relies on the solicitor demonstrating that the asset was disposed of specifically to avoid a legitimate claim.
"Add Back" involves the court nominally adding back into the matrimonial assets the amount one person has recklessly spent, reducing the assets. However, the court typically applies this when financial misconduct is gross and obvious, such as excessive gambling or buying luxury items.
In cases where full and frank disclosure of assets is challenging, seeking expert legal advice becomes crucial. This ensures a fair and equitable financial settlement can be pursued, addressing the complexities of hidden assets and safeguarding the interests of both parties involved.
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