Sometimes a couple knows they are nearing a divorce – they fight all the time, one makes allegations of adultery, one states aloud the possibility of divorce. Other times the divorce comes as a surprise to one spouse, and that sense of being caught off guard can be disorienting.
As this article in Barrons discusses, a spouse can learn from financial cues that a divorce may be in the works. In general, a spouse looking to divorce will try and separate financially from the other spouse, and this process leaves clues.
First, watch for bank statements. Do they still come regularly to the house? Do they still have the same general balances? Have any large amounts been removed as cash? Has the other spouse stopped depositing paychecks or making contributions to retirement funds?
Second, check your financial information. Do you still have access to tax returns, statements for retirement funds or other important papers? If you cannot find these documents, they likely did not go missing by accident.
Third, watch the other spouse. If the other spouse starts taking a sudden and unusual close interest in the finances, asks for lots of statements or documents, it likely signals an intent to collect information to take to an attorney.
Fourth, watch for new credit card offers or bills. If you see an increase in card offers or bills from a new credit company, it could mean that one spouse is looking to establish separate credit in anticipation of divorce.
Finally, watch for new bank statements or funds not in a joint account that arrive in the mail. That would certainly signal moving marital funds so that one spouse lacks access.
When a divorce looms, some spouses want to remain in the dark hoping the worst will not happen, but this only makes that spouse less aware of what is coming and less able to take steps to protect marital assets before a divorce filing. If something looks off, do not look away – look into it and protect yourself.
If you have questions about financial signs of divorce, contact us – we can help.