Financial Betrayal and the Looming Divorce

Amherst, NH area client asks: Should I have seen my
divorce coming?

Divorce and Money Amherst, NHThe foundation of any relationship is trust. When trust is broken, it is often difficult to repair; but when a spouse takes actions that dissipate assets or income, he or she may be plotting a divorce, and the damage caused may be substantial. As divorce lawyers, we often hear stories from the spouse who “never saw it coming” or who disregarded the signs because they didn’t want to rock the boat. They may have been on the lookout for physical or emotional betrayal, but did not consider the possibility of financial betrayal until presented with hard evidence. By then, it was too late and now they were served with divorce papers.

Whether or not infidelity is a factor in your situation, you need to consider that certain actions on the part of your spouse may be a warning sign that he or she is purposely concealing assets/debts from you or is intentionally reducing their income in order to lower their child and/or spousal support obligation.

The following are some actions that you may have noticed your spouse engaging in which, taken separately, may mean absolutely nothing for your relationship. However, if several of these red flags are present in your relationship, it may be warning that a divorce may be looming. Have you noticed that your spouse is:

  • Unwilling to answer your questions about financial issues
  • Angered by your questions about financial issues
  • Unwilling to share passwords for email, bank and investment accounts, Quicken, QuickBooks, etc.
  • Intercepting mail
  • Suddenly using a post office box to receive mail
  • Not disclosing new credit card accounts
  • Stashing away cash
  • Opening a safe deposit box or purchasing a home safe and not allowing you access
  • Opening multiple bank accounts in their individual name
  • Making numerous transfers between bank accounts that are difficult to track
  • Transfers to unknown bank accounts
  • Frequent or large cash withdrawals from accounts that are unexplained
  • Tapping credit lines for reasons that just don’t make sense
  • Taking unnecessary loans or unnecessarily refinancing
  • Signing your name to joint tax returns without your knowledge or not allowing you to look at the tax return you are being asked to sign
  • Blocking or discouraging access to financial advisors or tax consultants used by the family or family business
  • Having more than one cell phone and/or not allowing you access to their cell phone contents
  • If self-employed, making statements that the business is doing poorly, especially if this does not appear to be the case
  • Asking you to sign off on titles to property
  • Taking withdrawals from retirement plans
  • Asking you to sign off on retirement plans or waive your right to the survivor benefit
  • Frequent periods where you just don’t know where your spouse is
  • Unexplained trips out of town or “business” trips that were never required previously
  • Comments that suggest you do not financially contribute to the household/assets
  • Telling you to, “Just trust me!”

These are just some examples. If you find that there are several of these red flags present in your relationship, it may be time for a discreet consultation with a divorce attorney. Being forewarned is forearmed!

If you have questions about divorce in New Hampshire Call (603) 883-0797 and ask for Michael J. Fontaine or Courtney Curran Vore

The author is Michael J. Fontaine. Esq.

This blog is intended for informational use only. The information contained herein should not be construed as offering legal advice or a legal opinion.