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Take precautions when divorcing a financially dishonest spouse

When people get divorced, they often look back on the marriage and reflect on what went wrong or where the relationship went off track. They might think of some behaviors or events that were red flags and pointed the relationship toward its end.

One red flag many people find is financial infidelity or dishonesty. In fact, according to this CNN Money article, 15 million people reportedly hide financial information from their live-in partner. If your spouse exhibited deceitful behaviors with regard to finances during your marriage, then you would be wise to take certain precautions during your divorce.

  1. Start gathering financial documentation as soon as possible. Even before one of you files for divorce, you should be sure you have as much financial data as possible. Once you separate, it can be more difficult to login to shared accounts or keep track of bills that come in the mail.
  2. Investigate suspicious behavior. This might include a spouse who starts buying lavish gifts or receiving new credit card statements in the mail, or if your spouse demanded complete control over the finances during your marriage. In these situations, you can speak with an attorney and a financial professional to get a thorough and accurate picture of your marital assets.
  3. Protect yourself in the short-term. To do this, you can consider freezing shared accounts or securing a court order that prohibits both parties from misusing marital accounts. You should also discuss with an attorney how – and if – you can withdraw money from shared accounts to avoid allegations of misconduct later on.

If your spouse was financially dishonest during your marriage, do not overlook that as you go through a divorce.  Doing so could leave you at a disadvantage in negotiations over property division and spousal support, especially when there are sizable assets at stake.

Instead, take your financial future seriously and consider consulting legal and financial professionals who can help you protect yourself. With this support, you can be better positioned to secure the fair settlement you deserve.