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Is your spouse hiding assets? Know the warning signs.

In some cases, divorce brings out the best in both spouses. They work together, perhaps through mediation or their lawyers, to reach fair agreements on issues such as child custody and property division. In many scenarios, however, people behave less than ideally during divorce. In some cases, their fears or heightened emotions may cause them to hide property.

These signs may indicate your spouse is hiding assets:

1. Transferring money from joint accounts to individual accounts

Quite a few couples have complex finances that include multiple retirement accounts, checking accounts, savings accounts, investment accounts and so on. If your spouse transfers money from a joint account into his or her own account during divorce proceedings, you could lose out on valuable assets or property. One way to ensure that everything is aboveboard is to monitor the accounts. If your spouse refuses to give you account passwords or access, this is a warning sign.

2. Getting a post office box

Spouses who sign up for a post office box could be receiving mail they do not want you to see. Their reasons could be entirely legal and plausible. On the other hand, a desire to hide property could be the motivator behind this move. The same principle applies if your spouse has changed the mailing address for bills to an office, preventing this mail from arriving at your house.

3. Claiming business woes

Perhaps your spouse owns a business and is now saying the company is faring poorly. Handle this claim with caution, as it could indicate he or she is concealing property from the business or plans to.

4. Making extravagant purchases

Lavish purchases are another possible sign that property is being hidden. Your spouse could be siphoning joint funds for the purchases and spending the money while it is available. Luxury trips to nations with relaxed banking laws should cause you to become more vigilant about the state of your finances.

It is illegal to hide property during divorce. There have been many cases where judges gave the wronged spouse much more than they were entitled to receive under the law because of their spouse's bad behavior.

Consulting an attorney can lead to fair property distribution during a divorce.

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