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Technology could make effectively hiding assets a thing of the past

Studies have shown that a lack of financial compatibility is one of the leading causes of divorce. Whether it's different opinions about how money should be spent or a lack of transparency about where it's being spent, financial honesty is critical.

Unfortunately, if individuals if Clark County don't feel compelled to share their financial details during marriage, they often don't feel compelled to share them during divorce. In many situations, that can lead one spouse to hide assets in an attempt to game the system and keep more money during the divorce.

Although people may think they're being stealthy by deleting emails or clearing a computer's history, technology makes it constantly easier to uncover hidden assets.

It seems like each person has his or her own method of hiding assets in a secretive way. Some people stick cash in a safety deposit box. Other people use a secret email account to communicate with a financial advisor to send money to a secret online brokerage account. Others only send text messages about their finances from a password-blocked cellphone.

Those moves may be enough to confuse a spouse, but it's likely not enough to stop the investigative eye of a family law attorney or a technology expert. Years ago, attorneys may have spent hours or days pouring through bank statements to find a transaction that seemed out of place. Today, advanced search technology makes it possible to scan thousands of online statements in a matter of seconds.

If you think your spouse is hiding assets, it's important to contact an experienced family law attorney. Your anger may tempt you to hack into a cellphone or browse through your spouse's computer history. However, evidence that is obtained illegally is usually not admissible in court. An experienced attorney could help ensure that all the information you collect can be used effectively.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Why Hiding Money From Your Spouse Has Gotten a Lot Harder," Veronica Dagher, April 30, 2012

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