Sometimes spouses know a marriage has such trouble that a divorce may be imminent; at other times, a spouse finds a divorce a complete surprise. The consequence of being caught off guard is that you may find your estranged spouse lifted some of the marital funds.
Recently, Barron’s listed some common financial red flags. If you see evidence of several of these issues, you will want to take steps to protect yourself.
Bills and Statements Disappear. If one spouse has been manipulating money, the easiest way to keep the other spouse in the dark is to change the address for the credit card statements or bank statements. If you notice that you have not seen a bill or bank statement in several months, you should investigate.
A Sudden Interest in Household Finance. If one spouse normally pays little attention to the household finances – paying bills, accounting for budget items – but suddenly begins poring over all statements and taking notes, it likely means the spouse is preparing to consult with an attorney.
New Credit Cards. If one spouse begins acquiring new credit cards individually, it could mean that spouse wants to hide purchases and/or build credit separately under his or her name.
Strange Billing Statements. If you notice in the mail a series of statements or bills from accounts you have not seen before, with or without your name attached, it likely means that the other spouse has engaged in secretive financial dealings.
Missing Money. If you see that one spouse has stopped depositing regular wages into the joint account or stopped making the regular contribution to the family IRA, you probably have a spouse preparing for divorce.
Looking for these signs is not meant to increase paranoia but simply to protect yourself from a terrible shock. If your spouse has the opportunity to make off with marital funds, that depletion will be a challenge to recoup or even get a straight accounting of come the actual divorce.
If you have questions about financial red flags and divorce, contact us – we can help.