How to Protect Yourself from Financial Fraud During Divorce
In an ideal world, everyone going through a divorce would be honest and upfront about their finances. Unfortunately, some spouses understand that marital property is going to be divided, and because of this, a person may try to hide certain assets from the other spouse during divorce. This is financial fraud, and it can result in an extremely unfair settlement for the spouse that is not hiding assets. The good news is that there are ways to protect yourself from these types of actions by your spouse.
Understand the Potential Types of Fraud
There are many different ways a spouse can try to hide assets during a divorce. A person may temporarily give friends and relatives property, cash, or securities in order to avoid dividing these assets. In other cases, a spouse may try to hide or misreport income in order to reduce his or her spousal maintenance or child support obligations.
Failure to fully disclose one’s income may also be considered tax fraud. This type of fraud may occur not only during a divorce, but after it is finalized as well. If this is done on a joint tax return that you and your spouse have signed, it can result in serious financial repercussions for you. Even if you had nothing to do with the fraud, you may still be held accountable, and you may face the same sanctions and penalties as if you had committed the fraud yourself.
Know the Warning Signs
A spouse that is trying to hide assets or engage in other types of financial fraud will typically show certain warning signs that they are engaging in misconduct. You may have reasons to be suspicious if your spouse:
- Refuses to share joint bank account details or passwords.
- Has a separate P.O. box to receive bills and bank statements.
- Is secretive about his or her financial matters.
- Becomes aggressive when you ask him or her to sign important financial documents.
- Claims there has been a sudden decrease in the value of property or has business losses that cannot be adequately explained.
Regardless of whether you have seen these signs or not, you should take steps to protect yourself against financial fraud.
Protecting Against Financial Fraud
One of the best steps you can take is to order a copy of your credit report. This will allow you to identify any issues of which you may be unaware, and it will also allow you to determine how much debt you have. You should then ask your creditors and lenders to remove your spouse as an authorized user on joint accounts and close any open lines of credit, if possible. This will protect you from accumulating debt that is not yours. If you cannot freeze your joint accounts, set up credit monitoring and fraud alerts so you know when there has been activity in your account right away.
Contact an Experienced Rolling Meadows Divorce Lawyer Today
The best way to protect yourself against financial fraud during a divorce is to speak to skilled Hoffman Estates divorce attorney Nicholas W. Richardson. He will help you uncover any hidden income or assets your spouse may be hiding, and he will aggressively pursue the most favorable divorce settlement for you. Call our office today at 847.873.6741 to schedule your free consultation.