Finances are often a point of contention in the lead-up to a divorce. After all, both spouses usually want a solid foundation on which to build their financial futures. If you are thinking about ending your marriage, you have a few options for distributing property. For example, you and your soon-to-be ex-spouse can negotiate a settlement, mediate the matter or ask a judge to intervene. 

In Massachusetts, divorcing spouses should receive an equitable share of marital wealth. While this does not necessarily mean that you will receive 50% of the marital estate, you should end up with a fair share. If your partner hides assets, though, you may receive far less than you deserve. Here are three places your spouse may try to conceal marital wealth:

1. Safe-deposit boxes

If your spouse is trying to deceive you, he or she may hide cash, jewelry, coins, bonds or other assets in a safe-deposit box that you cannot access. Alternatively, your partner may physically stash resources in another place you cannot enter, such as a professional office, rented apartment or storage unit. Because it can be difficult to find assets in such places, hiring a private investigator may be worthwhile.

2. Collections

Your spouse may collect coins, artwork, figurines or something else. If so, you must watch for your husband or wife to use marital wealth to invest in his or her collection. Furthermore, if your partner spends money on cars, sports equipment, animals or anything else, hiding assets may be the ultimate goal.

3. Loans

When hiding assets, some spouses make generous loans to family members, friends or professional acquaintances. An unscrupulous spouse may also temporarily loan money to the government by deferring a tax refund or to an employer by delaying a bonus. Either way, if your spouse lends money immediately before your divorce, you may need to ask a forensic accountant to look into the transaction. 

It can be stressful to face your post-divorce financial future. Fortunately, Massachusetts law likely allows you to receive sufficient assets for your fresh start. If you think that your spouse is hiding marital property, however, you must act quickly to protect your financial interests.