You’re going through a divorce. The assumed outcome is that you and your partner will split your assets and debts 50/50, but what does an equitable split look like when you know little to nothing about you and your partner’s monetary situation? You start wondering — what even is our income? How much do we spend each month? Are we in debt? Or, do we have a surplus of assets? Any hidden assets? What are hidden assets? Wait, do we own that lake house? If you find yourself not knowing the answer to most of these questions, you may be an out-spouse.
In simple terms, an out-spouse is what divorce lawyers call the partner who did not track the family’s finances throughout the marriage. In some cases, they may not even have access to any financial information.
Divorce is already a stressful time, and a lack of immediate knowledge about your marriage’s financial situation can make a difficult time even harder. For instance, the in-spouse — the spouse who managed the finances throughout the marriage — usually has prior experience dealing with legal, tax, and finance professionals. Consequently, when it comes time to divvy up the assets, the out-spouse may find themselves overwhelmed, stressed, and not knowing who to trust with securing an equitable split.
What do I do if I am an out-spouse?
If you think you may be an out-spouse, don’t panic just yet. Perhaps you and the in-spouse merely had an agreement that they would oversee the finances. A person is not an out-spouse always due to malicious intent. So keep in mind that there is a major difference between not having immediate access to your financial records and having them withheld from you. Thus, before assuming the worst, ask the in-spouse for copies of your financial records.
However, asking for access to financial records is sometimes easier said than done. For example, if your spouse cannot find the records, does not give you access or you worry that there are hidden assets (like that lake house) not included in the records, this might be a job for your attorney.
Overall, equitable financial disclosure and transparency in a marriage can save you a lot of trouble in the long-run. Whether you’re an in-spouse or an out-spouse, there are plenty of online resources to help you safely navigate your finances during the divorce process.
Click here to learn more.
This report is a publication of Demand Wealth. Information presented is believed to be factual and up-to-date, but we do not guarantee its accuracy and it should not be regarded as a complete analysis of the subjects discussed. All expressions of opinion reflect the judgment of the author as of the date of publication and are subject to change.