What to do When you Suspect Your Spouse is Concealing Marital Assets from You

By Steven Fultonberg CPA/CVA

No one likes to imagine that someone is purposely deceiving them or hiding information from them, especially if such actions involve concealing assets in a marriage. If your spouse is becoming more secretive, erasing trails of certain shared finances and concealing marital assets, it could be a sign that that they are preparing for a pending separation or divorce. Such actions are unethical and potentially illegal. Whether or not you believe your spouse is capable of such wrongdoings, consider the chance that they are doing such and take a proactive approach to getting a definitive answer.

There are some simple signs to look out for.  To start, just look around you.  If the lifestyle your family leads over a period of time doesn’t correlate with what you see as inflows and outflows from bank and investment accounts or from cash on hand during that same period, that may mean that assets may exist elsewhere that you’re not considering or, worse yet, that you’re not aware of! This is typical with many couples when one spouse manages the family finances while the other consciously chooses not to be involved at all or to the extent of the other.  With a future divorce on the horizon as the motive, this opportunity could change the persona of your spouse to someone who you once thought would never do such a thing to one who is “capable”.

If you don’t feel comfortable investigating things for yourself or it’s too complex due to numerous transactions or accounts, you can always hire a certified forensic accountant who is well-versed at performing these functions.  While you may not feel psychologically ready to take these steps, at a minimum protecting financial records is a must.  If you’re already aware that divorce is on the horizon, you need to switch into protection mode by consulting with an attorney who will advise you what should be done.

About the Author

Steven Fultonberg is a licensed CPA in North Carolina, New Jersey and New York and has over 30 years’ experience. He is also a licensed CVA (certified valuation analyst) and recently moved to NC to start his firm, Steven Fultonberg CPA/CVA, PLLC.  Steven’s firm performs business valuations for divorce equitable distributions, buy/sell, gift and estate and other purposes. His firm also provides consulting, financial statement preparation (compilation, review and audit) and tax services. The accountants at Steven Fultonberg CPA/CVA, PLLC routinely handle all such needs for individuals, trusts, estates, employee benefit plans and for-profit businesses within a variety of very diverse industries.