Hiding money is as costly as it is finding and it all comes out of the same point, here is what to do if you are in this situation.
But the pandemic has thrown other items into the mix – namely designer handbags, shoes, watches and cryptocurrency. The value of these items has soared, in some cases second-hand Birkin’s and Chanel handbags are worth more than the original price, and the same is often true of Rolexes, Breitlings and Omegas. In fact, top brand watches have risen in value by 10% during the pandemic and these are not cheap to buy. The rub in all of this comes when you don’t declare it, and partners try to hide the true value from each other.
If you have some of these items, you really do need to be transparent regarding the value. It is your legal responsibility and a core principle of a divorce done well that you be honest with each other.
And if you are with someone who you think is hiding these items, you need to raise this with the other party without being confrontational, politely ask them if they are aware the value has risen. A divorce done well is not about point-scoring, it's about being as amicable as possible to ensure a quick, and cost effective divorce that allows you both to move on.
The risks of playing these games and not declaring the value are immense, four out of ten marriage splits in England and Wales have led to financial rows having to be settled in court. And once you start hiding the facts, the scars left can be felt throughout the whole process. One barrister recently talked about a couple who were so enmeshed in hiding their money they ended up arguing over the tiniest of things such as who would get the fake roses – which had no value at all. This couple spent thousands arguing about this because the bonds of trust had been broken.
Aliya Ali-Afzal knows all about the cost of financial infidelity, having written a book about it – ‘Would I lie to you.’ Aliya talks about how common it is for financial pressures to cause untold damage to relationships, add to this the damage caused by a divorce and you are looking at a long-lasting legacy of acrimony.
It’s important to say that we’re not necessarily talking about high-end divorces either. The biggest protagonists engaging in this sort of behaviour are middle-class professionals – in one case, a husband tried to hide his money in bikes (£65,000 worth).
But what do you do if your partner is hell-bent on hiding their resources? There are certain steps you can take:
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