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Thinking of leaving - can he hide his money?(23 Posts)
NC for this as I am so nervous....
I am thinking of leaving my DH (for a number of reasons, may post separately for advice). One thing that is worrying me is whether he will be able to hide his money from me. We have separate bank accounts and a joint account that we both pay a monthly sum into for household expenditure. I don't know what he earns, although I have a rough idea, but I do know that he has quite significant savings, but no idea how much and in how many accounts.
I don't want any of his money (I have my own savings which are much less than his, but I'm ok with that), but if we do split I want to ensure I get my half of the house and I am worried that in order to make sure that I get it I need to know how much money he has. I have no way of finding out; I've tried looking for his paperwork, bank statements etc but I can't find it anywhere in the house. He is very secretive and careful with money.
I believe he will not hesitate to lie about how much money he has and I wonder if there will be a way that I, or a solicitor, can find out if necessary what the truth is? Would appreciate any advice, I know the situation that I don't know how much money he has or where his statements are is ridiculous and I feel embarrassed and ashamed. But if I can pluck up the courage to leave and there is something I can do to reassure myself it would be really helpful.
Hi Jenny, I am not an expert but I needed to fill a sworn financial statement including all my financial products (savings, GIC, RRSP, life insurance, etc.) with balance at the time of marriage and separation. I am aurhorized to withdraw money from one of my mother's accounts and I needed to declare that as well. I am in Canada so I am not sure if this helps.
Not that you can't hide the money by "foegetting" accounts but then you could get in big trouble so I would assume people don't lie with it.
My fil hid accounts from mil in their extremely messy divorce. She had no clue as to what he actually had but he didn't declare everything. He had moved abroad by then and the divorce ended up in the high court but he still didn't declare everything.
Is there any way you can find out op?
A lot depends on how he earns money. I'm assuming that you and your H are actually married.
Do you own the house and is it in joint names. If it is, the starting point in a divorce would always be that you get half. if you have principal responsibility for the children you may get more.
If the house is in his name then your solicitor can lodge a restriction on the title preventing the house being sold without your agreement. He does not need to agree to this. It's not hard, just a case of filling in a form and sending it to the Land Registry.
With regards to other money, if he is employed it is much easier to trace his assets than if he is self-employed which offers more chance to hide assets. If it comes to it, your solicitor can ask for a court order for production of his payslips.
The easiest thing is to find out everything you can about his bank accounts, pension etc whilst his paperwork is in the house now. You don't need to shout about it, just quietly put it aside (and keep it somewhere safe out of the house).
When you get to the financial stage of the divorce both of you will have to give full disclosure of all your finances (Form E). Men do lie about this from time to time but there have been a string of recent cases which overturn previous financial settlements where they have lied about the extent of their assets so IME that is a high risk strategy quite apart from the risk of going to gaol for contempt of court.
BUT in the real world, finding out as much as you can now is always worth it. Not least because if he lies at Form E stage you have evidence to point that out. Judges tend to take a dim view of people lying to the court...
Thank you so much for the replies. We are married and the house is in joint names. No children. When we bought our first house we both contributed to the deposit and I know that he put more in than me but I don't remember how much he put in and how much I put in - it's more than 15 years ago. I'm sure he knows though.
I don't even know if I can leave but if I do I would need half the equity in the house to be able to afford even a tiny flat, if even that is possible. I can't get a mortgage as I have recently gone freelance in my field of work and earn very little.
Because the possibility of leaving is in my mind I have been looking for bank statements, account details etc as I have read so many posts on here advising having copies of paperwork even though I wouldn't normally pry. But I can't find any anywhere in the house which is why I wondered if there is any way of a solicitor finding out if he were to lie. Am ashamed as I write this that I have allowed him to get away with being so secretive and feel very upset that in fact his paperwork is hidden somewhere, perhaps not even here. I knew it wasn't anywhere obvious but am feeling a bit shocked.
I don't think there is a way for a solicitor to find out that information easily. The only way is via court disclosure. What about his wallet? At least that will have bank cards in which will have his account details on them.
Thanks Cupcakesandwine for the tip about his wallet. I will look at his cards and at least have an idea of what accounts he has. He also has Isas, savings accounts, shares which I don't have details of but at least details from his cards would help.
From my experience he'll be asked to provide 1yrs back statements for all his accounts & if he's moved £ in the last year it'll show to where. Your lawyer can demand statements going back further if needed.
A decent solicitor will advise you on how to track down his savings and may work with a forensic accountant to prove his other assets. It is quite costly though, so you need to be clear of the benefits of such an exercise.
You wouldn't find personal bank statements in my house because I get e-statements through online banking and just save to a file on my computer. Would that be the type of thing he might do?
How about a private investigator Or a forensic accountant? Most divorce solicitors are used to people hiding money and assets so have ways to check. Just try to keep it quiet until you have your ducks in a row, you don't want to tip him off so he hides more.
Or set up a new email address and do a credit check on him using that email address so if he finds out its not linked to you. Won't show savings but might show banks he's associated with? Or put keystroke logger (I think that's what it's called) on his laptop so you can see what online banking he has?
A keystroke logger is illegal, the OP would get in the shit for that.
Does he fill in a tax return?
Ask your solicitor if you would be able to see his tax return as a part of the divorce - this would show dividends and interest received so it would give you a starting point. Most people fill in the form online - so check his computer.
I do know that certainly outside the UK but still within western Europe, it used to be perfectly possible to pay a private investigator to identify funds in another person's name which the applicant might have a legal ownership claim to. No idea of the legality, but if there's nothing to hide, there's nothing to find, right?
Do you want a share of his money if you split? Are you looking to get all his money, plus your money, treated as joint assets and split accordingly?
If you are just looking to sell the house and split the proceeds then surely your individual financial circumstances are irrelevant- it will just be split 50/50, or by whatever arrangement you put in place at time of purchase.
How do you find a private investigator that is good?
Savings do have relevance in terms of divorce as a judge will want both parties to come out of the marriage roughly equal, so if he is has three times the amount she has in savings then he may well award a larger share of the house to compensate.
How you find this out though is another issue.
You do know that he has ISAs shares and savings, so if he doesnt put that he has all three down on his Form E then you know for a fact he is lying and that is a good reason to go down the forensic accountant route. Better wait until you see his Form E and then see what a solicitor says.
I too have no paper trail for my bank accounts, everything is online.
Thank you so much everyone for all your advice. It's really useful.
I've now found the paperwork (hidden in a bizarre place) but not looked at it yet as I'm waiting for a time when I know I have the house to myself for a decent period of time. He's not very IT literate so I suspect most of the information will be there.
I really don't want his money - that doesn't seem fair, but I do want my share of the house as it's my only chance of being able to buy somewhere; I won't be able to get a mortgage at the moment. I've paid 50% of the mortgage and all household bills ever since we've lived together. He did put in more than me initially (I'm thinking 70k from him and 30k from me, but not sure) so I'm worried he will try to get more than 50%, and that's why I want to have the detail of pension (he is already receiving employment pension as took early retirement), salary (he works part time) and savings. If I don't get the 50% I won't even be able to buy a tiny 1 bed flat.
Thanks for the advice; I'm still not sure I have the confidence to leave but I'm trying to make sure that if I do I have the best info possible.
Good detective work Jenny
Make sure that you take scans (even just decent photos on your phone will be good enough) of everything Inc. Name, date of the statement and the current balance / stock holding etc.
Email it to yourself.
You might also want to speak to someone regarding what the financial situation would look like if you did decide to split.
Best of luck whatever you decide to do.
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