EP 70: Sudden Income Deficit Syndrome: A Sneaky Way Your Spouse May Hide Money from You

sudden-income-deficit-syndrome-hiding-assets

Episode 70 of the Divorce and Your Money show discusses Sudden Income Deficit Syndrome (SIDS).

Spouses (especially the breadwinners) have many ways of hiding assets. With SIDS, income suddenly starts to disappear. The tricky part about it is that you might not even know that the income is gone. A sneaky spouse could be hiding and moving money away from you.

Here are three cases of SIDS:

  • You seem to get poorer as the marriage worsens.
  • The business is suddenly in trouble.
  • Your spouse does not provide the required financial data.

In the first case, a marriage is going downhill, so savvy spouses can start to protect themselves. Sometimes, it can happen quickly, and other times, it can take a while. Look back at the time when things started to derail, and your money issues started. Your spouse could be doing things like underreporting income, over-reporting expenses, or creating fake debts. There could be a lot of money hidden from you, which you rightfully deserve.

The second case occurs when a spouse starts to paint the picture that the business is not going well. For example, less money could be coming home, or valuable possessions are being traded for low-value items. If you or your spouse owns a business, you need to take an extraordinarily hard look; there are literally a hundred ways it could be manipulated—to look better or worse.

The third case is more common: Your spouse is very slow to provide data and financial records—before or during the divorce process. The first thing to do during any divorce proceeding is disclose the financial details; some spouses purposely take weeks or months to provide that data. They could also provide incomplete data and information. If you notice any of these cases, make sure that you let your attorney know as soon as possible, and get legal and financial help.

Key Learning Points:

  • During SIDS, income suddenly starts to disappear.
  • Hiding assets is both illegal and unethical.
  • There are three main symptoms of SIDS.
  1. You seem to get poorer as the marriage worsens.
  2. The business is suddenly in trouble.
  3. Your spouse does not provide the required financial data.
  • If you notice any of these cases, make sure that you let your attorney know as soon as possible, and get legal and financial help.

Thank you for listening to the Divorce and Your Money Show. We hope the show helps you through one of the most difficult periods of your life. Shawn Leamon is also the author of Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide. One-on-one divorce-coaching services are available at www.divorceandyourmoney.com.

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Shawn Leamon, MBA, CDFA

Dallas, Texas

Shawn C. H. Leamon is Managing Partner of LaGrande Global, a firm that helps successful families manage large financial transitions like divorce, inheritance and selling a business.

He earned his Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College, double majoring in Economics and Philosophy, and his Masters in Business Administration at Spain’s IE Business School.

Before founding LaGrande Global, Shawn helped manage $1.1 billion in client assets at Bernstein Global Wealth Management. He also worked as a credit research analyst at J.P. Morgan. He is a Certified Divorce Financial Analyst, and he has been an advisor to numerous high-stakes divorce cases.

Shawn is the author of two well-received finance books: Managing Private Wealth: Principles, and Divorce and Your Money: The No-Nonsense Guide, both published in 2016.

In his spare time, Shawn is an ultra-endurance athlete and has competed in events as long as 24 hours. He is an Eagle Scout and a member of the Alumni Board of Greenhill School.