When you’re the “out spouse,” it means you are not the one that handles the finances in the marriage. In fact, out spouses usually have little, if anything to do with the finances. They may let their spouse handle all the bills because they hate math, because they detest paying bills, or because their spouse insisted on handling the couple’s finances.
In most cases, the out spouse is the lower wage earner and the “in spouse” is the breadwinner. If you’re the “out spouse” and you’re contemplating divorce, you may have concerns over filing for divorce because you don’t have a clear picture of your finances.
You may not know how much the monthly bills are, how much you pay in taxes every year, how much is in the bank, or how much money is in your spouse’s IRA or 401k. Perhaps being on the outs never bothered you before, until now...
Am I at a Disadvantage?
Most divorce attorneys would say that the out spouse is at a disadvantage because they usually don’t have direct access to account numbers, passwords, statements, and balances. If you have a good relationship with your spouse, hopefully, he or she will have no problem giving you access to this information.
On the other hand, if your spouse is dishonest or if you suspect that he or she is hiding assets from you, you are at more of a disadvantage. If you can, our advice is to locate the important financial documents, such as bank statements, mortgage papers, the last few years’ taxes, credit card statements, etc. and make copies of all of them for your records. “But what if I can’t find them, or what if my spouse won’t let me see them?”
By law, your spouse has to disclose all of the financial information during a divorce proceeding and it is against the law for them to conceal assets. If you are concerned about this, be sure to inform your divorce lawyer right away. There are legal steps that can be taken to protect you, even if you’re the out spouse and don’t have direct access to the financial records.
At Cairns Law Offices, we specialize in cheap, no-fault divorces. If you anticipate a contested divorce involving hidden assets, unfortunately, we cannot help you because we do not handle divorce litigation. But if you are seeking an amicable, no-fault divorce, give us a call for a free case evaluation.