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Your Secret Stash of Cash Won’t Be So Secret When Going Through a Divorce

By Leslie Fineberg on February 6, 2014

Divorce Finance IssuesWhen going through a divorce, many people try to hide money from their spouse.  Whether for extramarital mischief or simply trying to keep money for themselves instead of splitting it; most couples will argue over money and whether their spouse is being honest about the disclosure of their assets.

Before the luxury of the Internet and increased technology, it was easy to have a “rainy day” fund that your spouse may never find out about, but now it is becoming nearly impossible to cover the tracks that may lead straight to your secret stash.

There are many ways to search the Internet and even the family computer to see where your spouse may have a secret bank account or where they are spending their money.  Suspicious spouses may go through web-surfing history and social media to find hidden bank accounts and even business deals that may be talked about online.  Even your smart phone or GPS application can give away your not so secret rendezvous to the ATM at a different bank or even that secret significant other.

In the past, lawyers would have to go through stacks and stacks of documents to discover assets and what needs to be divided in a divorce.  It was much easier to “cook the books” or shred materials that you didn’t want seen.  Now your bank activity and any online activity is on a hard drive somewhere waiting to be discovered.  In today’s highly electronic and internet dependent world, it is easy for an attorney to scan thousands of emails and bank statements in milliseconds to search for keywords or terms that might expose thought to be secret behavior.  Anything done electronically is nearly impossible to delete.

The question of whether it is legal to stalk your spouse’s online activity is another matter entirely.  The choice to keep your snooping legal is a smart one indeed, because any evidence discovered illegally is then inadmissible in court.

Some legal ways to find your spouse’s secret online activity include: Google searches, searching public databases that have real estate or business information, and perusing their social media profiles.  Any information found on a non-password protected hard drive, that was considered to be family property, is legal and admissible in court.  Illegal searches include: going into password protected accounts and profiles, installing keystroke software on your spouse’s computer, and any type of GPS or tracking device installed without the other person’s knowledge.

If you feel your spouse is hiding something or behaving suspicious the best thing to do is approach them, have a conversation and see if there is a way to amicably come to a resolution.  If talks with your spouse fail, leave it to your attorney to discover any possibly hidden assets and activity to ensure legal discovery.

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