Spouses who try to hide money are often leaving electronic clues

It’s harder to hide secrets than it used to be thanks to technology that makes it easier to track people’s activities. In fact, divorcing spouses who try to hide their money in order to keep it away from their ex during property division may be in for a rude surprise.

There are many ways for a spouse or an investigator to uncover these hidden assets. Some sleuthing methods are simple and legal, while others are more complicated and may be borderline, if not outright, illegal.

Getting into password-protected accounts, secretly installing key-logger software to keep track of what an ex is doing on the computer, and secretly installing GPS in an ex’s vehicle are just a few examples of sleuthing techniques that may be illegal, depending on the laws of the state.

Illegally obtained evidence is generally inadmissible in court, and could also result in fines and even jail time. In contrast, evidence uncovered by a simple Google search is perfectly legal.

There is plenty of sneaky behavior to be discovered. According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, almost a third of people who combine assets with a partner admitted to being deceptive about money, while 58 percent admitted to hiding money from their partner.

Sometimes investigators find evidence of more than just hidden assets. One investigator told The Wall Street Journal that an analysis of a couple’s smartphone showed that the wife was planning to hire a hit man to kill the husband. In this case, sleuthing may have saved a life.

Stay tuned for more from our Ft. Worth family law blog …

To learn more about dissolution of marriage, property division or other divorce-related issues, contact an experienced and skilled legal professional.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be construed as legal or financial advice.


The Wall Street Journal, “Why hiding money from your spouse has gotten a lot harder,” Veronica Dagher, April 30, 2012