In Illinois, all couples going through a divorce are required by law to officially declare all of their assets and property. Failing to do so can result in legal ramifications, such as fines, dismissal of claims or even incarceration. Despite these potential outcomes, some ex-spouses still choose to hide marital assets in an effort to keep the property from ending up in the hands of the other spouse.

According to the National Endowment for Financial Education, about one-third of adults who have combined finances with a spouse admit that they have been deceptive about money. The NEFE survey also suggests that husbands are much more likely than wives to lie about debt, earned income or other financial issues, with 65 percent of wives claiming to have been deceived, compared to only 47 percent of husbands. If hiding money and property is such a pervasive problem, being aware of the signs is essential for those going through a divorce.

1. New accounts

If new bank statements begin showing up addressed to one spouse or to a child, the spouse may have opened a new account. Some spouses may have a new P.O. box where mail is sent to keep the other spouse in the dark, but ATM receipts may have unfamiliar account numbers on them that could be a sign of a recently opened account. Money can also be hidden in savings bonds, retirement accounts or municipal bonds.

2. Large withdrawals

Many couples agree during their marriage to let the other know about any significant withdrawals that will be made from a shared bank account. During a family law dispute, one spouse may notice that a hefty sum has been removed from an account without notice, signaling that the withdrawn money may be hidden elsewhere.

3. A change in behavior

A sudden change in behavior, especially in regard to financial issues that may arise, can be a sign that an ex is uncomfortable or guilty of hiding property. Defensiveness and secrecy are common behaviors for those who are trying to keep money hidden away in order to avoid having it divided.

4. Income reduction

An ex-spouse that claims a sudden reduction of income that has always been stable may be putting large sums of money somewhere where the other spouse cannot get to them. Some employers may be willing to withhold bonuses or regular paychecks until after a divorce finalization, ensuring that the deceiving spouse’s assets are undervalued.

Anyone who suspects that an ex is hiding property would benefit from the assistance of an attorney. Discovering assets can be a complicated process, but is possible with legal aid.