With so many different banking options today, many people have more than one bank account. Many couples divide accounts into mine, yours, and ours. However, if you find your spouse has a secret bank account that you never knew about, you might wonder what this means for your relationship.
The first step to finding out if your spouse has a secret bank account is to find evidence. Evidence may include a paper trail, tax records, online activity, and missing funds. One of the most obvious ways to track down a paper trail is if you notice mail coming to your spouse from a new financial institution which you have not previously done business with. Your spouse’s pay stubs may also show where money may be directly deposited into another account.
Your tax records are a good source of evidence if the account is an interest-bearing account. If you and your spouse share technological devices and browsing, you may be able to find evidence of a secret bank account by reviewing your spouse’s browsing history. If you have noticed large withdrawals from your joint account or a decrease in your spouse’s take-home pay, that is likely a good indicator that money may be being funneled into a secret bank account.
If you are able to find evidence, the easiest process to find out more information is to simply show your spouse the evidence and ask about the account. Your spouse may have a reasonable explanation for the secret account. They could have opened the account many years ago and just forgot about it. They could have just become aware of a savings account someone else may have opened on their behalf many years ago. Your spouse could be building a safety fund. If there are issues of money management in the marriages, your spouse may feel more secure knowing that there are extra funds in reserve in case you need it. While there is nothing wrong with having savings or emergency funds, the issue comes when your spouse is actively being deceptive about it.
The best way to discuss the account and your marital financial health is:
- Discussing all bank accounts, assets, forms of income, and debts;
- Not accusing each other of misconduct;
- Discussing priorities for money and shared goals;
- Creating monthly budgets together;
- Having both spouses actively involved in the finances;
- Being transparent about spending money;
- Making a plan to pay off debt together;
- Identifying the underlying problems that led to the deceptive practices; and
- Involving a third party to help mediate issues.
If you are actively in a divorce, your family law attorney will work to find assets. One of the best avenues for discovering hidden accounts in a divorce is the discovery process. The discovery process includes interrogatories, requests for production, requests for admissions, and depositions. All discovery is answered under oath as if you are answering before the court.
Interrogatories are questions used to gather information. Requests for production are used to gather documents which are in the other party’s possession. Requests for admission are used to get the other party to admit to information prior to the case going to trial. Depositions are an opportunity for all parties to sit down with a court reporter so the attorney can ask questions as if in court but it occurs prior to trial in your case. These are all ways to gather evidence that can be used at trial. Our divorce lawyers in Birmingham are here to help you come up with the best strategy to win your divorce case at trial and are always available for a consultation.
Attorney Steven A. Harris regularly blogs in the areas of family law, bankruptcy, and real estate closings on this website. He is always available in any of the firm’s offices or by phone anytime for a consultation. Mr. Harris tries to provide informative information to the public in easily digestible formats. Hopefully you enjoyed this article and feel free to supply any feedback. We appreciate our readers and love to hear from you!