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Could these financial lies be part of your Florida divorce?

Most spouses like to think that they know their partner as well as they know themselves. They believe that, over the years, every personality trait, both good and bad, has been revealed, and that every step their spouse makes will fall among a predictable path. Imagine the shock and surprise that comes when a Florida spouse discovers that his or her partner has been telling financial lies for many years. Divorce tends to draw back the curtain on these issues, and it is not uncommon for spouses to be blindsided by what is revealed.

The reasons behind a spouse's dishonesty are as varied as the individuals themselves. Some spouses lie to shield a portion of wealth from their partner. Others are lying to cover up a bad habit or a serious addiction. Still others are simply compulsive liars, and conceal facts with no clear intention at all. No matter why these actions are taken, spouses should become informed about the more common financial lies that are uncovered during a divorce -- and be prepared to act accordingly.

One of the most common mistruths that surface during divorce is income that was underrepresented for many years. This income may come in the form of hidden bonuses, stock options that were never discussed or streams of income that are not the primary source of the family's budget. Another common means of lying about money is to exaggerate expenses, making one's partner believe that more money is leaving the base of wealth than is actually the case. Hidden or undervalued property is another issue that can come up during a divorce.

The best way to address the issue of concealed assets is to work with a family law attorney who is well versed in scouring records for signs of hidden wealth. It may also be helpful to bring in a forensic accountant as part of the team. Florida spouses must keep in mind that not every act of financial dishonesty is easy or simple to spot. This is an area of law where being safe is far better than being sorry.

Source: bizjournals.com, "5 secrets your divorce could uncover, and the consequences", Lewis I. Landerholm, July 10, 2017

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