There are numerous ways that divorcing spouses can try to hide money and other assets from their soon-to-be ex. The rise of cryptocurrency has provided even more opportunities to accumulate virtually untraceable assets.
People who are concerned that their spouse isn’t forthcoming about their assets in their divorce financial disclosures sometimes add a forensic accountant or other professional who specializes in finding hidden assets to their divorce team. If you believe that your spouse has squirreled away considerable assets that you’re entitled to share within their company or overseas accounts or that they’ve taken other steps to keep them away from you, bringing in an expert may be a sound investment in your financial future.
Sometimes, though, the simplest, most low-tech strategies for hiding money work best. Spouses have been known to hide large amounts of cash and other valuables in a bank’s safe deposit box.
They can be found
Of course, bank safe deposit boxes are a type of account. A box has an account number, and the bank has records of its boxes and owners. As with any new account, a person has to present an ID to open one. Bank offices keep records of each time a box is accessed.
Further, if a spouse is hoarding cash in a safe deposit box, it came from somewhere. That’s where careful inspection of bank and other financial records is important – paying particular attention to withdrawals and cash advances.
If someone is hoarding large sums of cash in a safe deposit box until after the divorce, they have to do something with it eventually. Fortunately, the federal Bank Secrecy Act requires financial institutions to report customer cash transactions that total over $10,000 in a single day. There are other reports they can generate if they believe someone is engaged in suspicious activity.
There’s a limit to what you can actually pay for (that’s legal) in cash. Some hotels and other upscale businesses even have no-cash policies.
Remember that divorcing spouses are required to make full, accurate financial disclosures when filing for divorce. If your spouse has a safe deposit box with thousands of dollars, valuable jewelry or even some old savings bonds, they’re required to list those assets or face a legal penalty.
If you think your spouse could be hiding assets in a safe deposit box, let your legal team know so you can track it down before the assets disappear.