Upon filing for divorce, each spouse is required to fill out a financial affidavit and make disclosures that fully list all known assets.
Unfortunately, not everyone is forthcoming when it comes to personal finances, especially if marital trouble has been brewing for a while. Separate accounts can get opened, or cash can get squirreled away into a plan that the spouse didn’t know existed. Mistrust can abound, and one of the first thoughts when compiling the mandatory financial affidavit of your lives together, just might be that your spouse must be stashing money away.
Here are some of the more common places to look to find cash you might not know about…
Where there expense reimbursements and are they all accounted for during the time of your marriage? This should include medical reimbursements, too. An employee could delay submitting expense reports until after separation. Remember you need to understand what is outstanding in order to see what is missing from the account statements.
Were there any additional credit card advances, lines of credit or cash from accounts withdrawn? Monthly statements as well as online accountings should give you this information. Checking your credit reports will also tell you if there were loans taken that you might not know about.
Are there private debts that you weren’t aware of? All of a sudden is there a debt to your spouse’s friend or family member that needs to “get settled” before you split up? Sometimes the friend will actually just hold the money until the divorce is final and then return the money back to the spouse after. You need to make sure all debts are legitimate!
Did your spouse delay income until the divorce is final, possibly altering the timing of a bonus, or deferring compensation in order to avoid splitting the income? Does your spouse get paid partially in cash that gets pocketed? Consider regular monthly expenses, and check banking statements to see how the spending is adding up. If it doesn’t, it’s possible your spouse is using cash, which could end up as additional income.
Do you know where all the funding for custodial accounts for children is coming from? That could be the source of an account only in a spouse’s name. Also, is all the money in those accounts accountable for and used for legitimate expenses for the children? Have your financial divorce financial request statements from these account.
Has your spouse’s business started to lose money, or are there extra expenses that are reducing the business’s income, such as a lavishly decorated office done with joint funds? Look for checks being written but not cashed, or non-existent employees suddenly on payroll. This downturn in income could potentially impact spousal support.
While divorce is an uphill battle, there are professionals out there that can navigate you through the legal, emotional, and financial aspects of divorce. Your attorney, a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA™), and therapists are all trained to give you guidance and a clearer view of what to expect.