Hiding assets between couples is not uncommon, either during the marriage or at the time of divorce. Sadly, many who face trouble personally or financially will go to extremes to hide money and investments from a spouse. Now, with advancements in electronic discovery, finding those assets has gotten easier.
Blowing cash on an extramarital affair, opening up a hidden and separate account, saving valuables in a safe-deposit box, or even setting up a secret online brokerage account are some of the ways that divorcing couples in Georgia and nationwide will try to keep funds separate.
Electronic discovery offers advanced strategies to uncover this kind of fraud during a divorce. Where searching through paperwork, online accounts, even internet search history was once painstaking, now divorce lawyers and forensic experts can quickly analyze bank statements credit-card bills and other files in mere seconds.
Paper trails of hidden accounts that were once destroyed or shredded, can now be found as a record in a computer hard drive through advanced electronic search methods. While some of these practices are entirely legal, there are still some investigative techniques that could be considered illegal, including installing a GPS device, hacking private accounts, or installing a key-stroke memory device system.
Even though there are technological advancements in searching for assets, many experts still advise asking as spouse directly. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, confronting their spending habits or addressing any questions may be the best option. This can minimize the stress of undergoing a search as well as provide an opportunity for open communication.
Source: Wall Street Journal, “Why Hiding Money From Your Spouse Has Gotten a Lot Harder,” Veronica Dagher, April 30, 2012.