There are many reasons people try to keep assets out of the marital pool. They range from simple greed to fear that they won't have enough money after the divorce to feelings of betrayal or anger at the need to divide property, says Stacy Francis, a certified financial planner, also known as a CFP, and Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, CDFA.
So if your marriage is ending, should you be worried about missing marital assets? Maybe. Maybe not."Some individuals plan well ahead of time," says Nancy T. Mello, a CDFA and financial advisor with Merrill Lynch's Global Private Client Group in Dallas. "They slowly start opening up accounts in their own names without their spouses realizing it."
In most cases, however, such financial moves are relatively small scale. "It's not really common for a spouse to intentionally hide assets the minute they think they might be going through divorce," says Lili Vasileff, president of the Association for Divorce Financial Planners
. "People do stash away a couple thousand in an account in case they need to hire an attorney or PI. But it's not really big, big stuff. It's rare for it to be significant."
What's significant, however, is subjective. So it might not hurt to pay attention to your accounts and be aware of indications that your partner is hiding marital assets. COMMON HIDING PLACES
There is a multitude of ways assets can be hidden and divorce attorneys and financial advisers have seen them all.
A typical method is moving money from a joint account to an individual one, often opened under the person's previous name. Or the new account could be under the partner's current name but be established at another bank, possibly one in a neighboring town, says Vasileff, whose divorce planning services are detailed at DivorceMatters.com.