When couples don't agree on how to split up their assets, the courts will intervene and divide them on their behalf. California courts employ the community property standard, which means that most everything acquired and earned during the marriage is subject to potential division in divorce proceedings.
People going through divorce often have strong emotions about what they want to achieve in that process. For many people, the goal is likely to punish a former spouse, rather than to simply secure a fair outcome. People who want to skew the asset division process in their own favor could engage in a number of highly questionable behaviors, including attempting to hide assets from their spouse and the courts as the divorce progresses.
Knowing what financial red flags to watch out for can help you determine the likelihood of hidden assets from your marriage impacting the outcome of your divorce.
Your spouse doesn't let you see their financial information
If your spouse refuses to share their pay stubs or tax records with you, insisting on doing everything themselves, there may be a reason for that seemingly strange behavior. They may not want you to understand what their income actually is.
Although you may live comfortably, it is still possible that your spouse siphons some percentage of their weekly income off into a hidden account. There could also be benefits, including a 401k or pension that you should share with your spouse but don't really know about.
Your ex withdraws cash but never uses it
Does your spouse have a practice of withdrawing a certain amount of cash from the bank every week or so? When you think about it, have you ever seen them pay for things with cash?
Making incremental withdrawals in cash over many months or years won't necessarily create a paper trail like directly depositing funds into an account from an employer. However, it could be indicative of an attempt to develop a hidden stash of cash somewhere.
Your spouse is secretive about purchasing or spending habits
Financial infidelity involves maintaining secrecy about one's financial circumstances, even if it impacts their spouse. Hiding debt and other financial issues from your spouse is one form of financial infidelity. If you have found that your spouse lied to you about their spending or purchasing habits in the past, they could very well do so again in the future.
While you may want to keep your divorce as amicable as possible, that doesn't mean that you should accept anything less than a fair outcome. Carefully reviewing your financial records and ensuring that your inventory of assets and debts is thorough and accurate is an important step toward a fair and reasonable outcome in a modern divorce.