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Hiding income or assets for divorce?

Hello. I recently served my husband with divorce papers, but we'd both agreed that it was time to end the marriage. I just moved first. I basically trust him and he has always been honest with me as far as I know. He makes much more than I do, however, and now I'm wondering if, even before we decided to get a divorce he's been hiding money from me in anticipation of this thing ending. We always had joint accounts and we were both in touch with what was going on with our finances, but because of the nature of his job (sales) his income is variable and comes in different forms of payment. Can you make any suggestions about the best way to discover if there's a problem and make sure he doesn't get away with hiding assets or income?

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The situation you are describing is new for you, surprising, and upsetting.  I'm guessing you have never gone through a divorce.  So, if your spouse is hiding income or assets, as your question suggests, it is not surprising that you have no idea how to deal with that issue.  However, an experienced Massachusetts divorce attorney sees this type of behavior ALL the time.  Even basically honest people can behave differently in the context of a divorce.  A good attorney should be able to help you read the signs and respond accordingly.  Hire an attorney and talk to her about the situation.  If your husband is hiding assets or income in anticipation of divorce,  your attorney has an arsenal of discovery weapons that she can use to ferret out the behavior.

In a way, you are a bit ahead of many people in your shoes, because you were both aware of your finances and able to "keep track" of your spouse's dealings to some extent.  In many marriages, one spouse is out of the loop regarding finances and, thus, starts at a huge disadvantage when the marriage begins to fail.  In any case, once you meet with your attorney, you and she will look for certain patterns that tend to appear in cases where on spouse is hiding money or assets.

In many cases, one partner will notice a change in the husband's or wife's behavior and habits, such as new phones, new credit cards that you have not seen before.  These changes could indicate attempts to conceal activities or the existence of an extra-marital affair, something that, in and of itself, can drain marital assets from the marriage.

In other cases a husband or wife may notice that the spouse is either making less money, or spending more of the income on toys.  Hiding income is more easily done by people who run their own business or, as in your husband's case, may get income from various sources depending on sales made during the period.  The purchase of new toys may be an attempt to use marital assets while he still can (assuming half or some other percentage of the money will eventually go to the ex).  Hope all that helps.  Good luck.  

Since you have access to your husband’s financial information you are in a position to check it out yourself. Look back at several year’s tax returns, bank statements, credit card statements, etc, and look for any change in spending or earning patterns. You may have already unconsciously noticed something different, and that is why you are starting to have suspicions that your husband may have been hiding money.

An attorney has many legal tools, such as discovery requests for documents, and subpoenas to third parties to get access to financial records. These tools are necessary because of confidentiality rules regarding financial institutions.

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