What is the Best Way to Hide Money from Your Spouse Legally?

There are many different reasons you might want to hide money from your spouse, and not all of them are negative. You might want to save up to surprise your partner with a gift. But more often, people want to hide money because they are worried. They may be concerned about having money for emergency expenses such as a medical need or car breakdown. Sometimes they want to set aside money just in case they need an exit plan.

There is no law against hiding money from your spouse while you are married. However, you can get into considerable legal trouble if you try to hide assets during divorce. So you need to take great care, and discuss plans with your attorney to make sure that your plans comply with the law. Here are some general factors to keep in mind if you want to hide money from your spouse legally.

Make Sure You’re Involved with the Finances

In most marriages, one spouse manages the money and pays the bills, and the other often has no idea about the financial picture. Make sure that’s not you. Even if your partner pays the bills, you should still know which accounts you have assets in and check the credit card bills and bank records. Know how to log-in to the accounts and review them regularly. If your spouse asks about your sudden interest, you can point out that you need to be prepared in case of an emergency or discuss the need for estate planning.

Keep Gifts and Inheritances in a Separate Account

California requires divorcing couples to divide marital assets evenly. However, assets considered to be separate property can be kept entirely by the spouse to whom they belong. Most property acquired during the course of your marriage is community marital property. However, gifts that were made solely to you, as well property inherited solely in your name, are both treated as separate property. You are allowed to hide these from your spouse while you are married. In divorce, you would need to disclose the existence of these assets, but you do not need to share them.

To maintain the character as separate property, you need to keep these assets separate from marital assets. Establishing a new bank account in your own name is the easiest way to do that. You might want to use a different bank than used for joint accounts and use work address or family member’s address so that if any documents arrive, you will not need to explain them. Keep records showing the source of funds in the separate account, and do not use those funds for marital purposes.

Strategies for Hiding Money

Remembering that you will need to disclose hidden assets in divorce and that learning you have been hiding funds can trigger an angry response from your spouse, here are some options for hiding funds temporarily in anticipation of a divorce or other emergency:

  • Ask for small amounts of cash back when paying with a check or debit card. You can then hide the cash until needed.
  • Open a safe deposit box in only your name. You can hide cash, jewelry, or other valuables and your spouse will not be able to access it or know what’s in it.
  • Pay back a fake loan from a family or friend. You can give money to someone to hold for you and tell your spouse that you are paying back money you borrowed some time ago.
  • Buy property that can be returned. You can buy items and keep them in the original packaging so that they can be returned later for a refund, or sold elsewhere if necessary.
  • Buy prepaid debit cards and gift cards—but make sure they won’t expire or get lost.
  • Buy cryptocurrency. It is becoming easier to buy cryptocurrency, but your account will still only be accessible and visible to you.

If you are concerned that your spouse will change passwords and shut you out of accounts, you might take out a credit card solely in your name and not provide information to your spouse.

These tactics can enable you to hide money legally during your marriage, but once you file for divorce, you will need to disclose all this information and be prepared to divide the value of marital assets. If you fail to disclose accounts and other assets, you will violate California law and could face serious legal consequences. Courts take a very dim view of spouses who try to hide assets in divorce, and you could be penalized in your divorce settlement on top of other legal penalties.

Let Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC Protect Your Financial Interests in Divorce or Legal Separation

There is a fine line between hiding assets legally in California and hiding assets in a way that puts you in contempt of court. If you have been hiding assets from your spouse or you plan to do so to provide a safety net before your divorce, it is a good idea to discuss your options with an experienced attorney at Holstrom, Block & Parke, APLC. Our legal team has 300+ years of collective experience protecting clients in divorce, and we can develop the right plans to safeguard you during and after the divorce process. For a confidential consultation, contact our team today.

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