Spouses aren't always honest about their financial decisions. If you're suspicious that your spouse is hiding something from you, it's possible he has another bank account he's not telling you about. Although you can't add yourself to a spouse's bank account without his consent, there are steps you can take to discover a hidden bank account.
Signs of a Hidden Bank Account
You may find physical evidence of a hidden bank account in your home. Pay attention to incoming mail and note anything that comes from a financial institution you don't have an account with. Bankrate author Rachel Hartman suggests that spouses examine any ATM receipts lying around and confirm the withdrawals were from an existing account. If the last four digits of the transaction don't match any of your bank account numbers, it could be a new account. Credit card statements are another valuable source of information. If any payments go in or out from a bank account that you're not familiar with, it could be a secret account.
If your spouse has a hidden bank account, he may be checking information online. Check the browser history on your family computer and note if your spouse has visited the websites of financial institutions you don't have an account with. Even if it's an account with a service you both use, like PayPal, visit the site and note if any username is automatically saved on the login screen. If it's different from your regular username, it may indicate your spouse has two separate accounts.
Be careful not to violate your spouse's privacy when you search for hidden bank accounts. According to the Wall Street Journal, it's potentially illegal to hack into your spouse's password-protected device, install a GPS in his car or install a keyboard monitor on his computer.
If you're going through a divorce proceeding, you have right to subpoena all of your spouse's bank records, paycheck information and tax returns. Bonnie Sockel-Stone, an accountant and divorce attorney, recommends taking following actions to discover any hidden bank accounts:
- Review all the Form 1099s from previous tax returns and look for dividends or interest from bank accounts that haven't been disclosed.
- Examine pay stubs and note what bank account the funds were direct deposited to.
- Look at cancelled checks and other documentation for payment of bills, and note what account the payment came from.
- Depose your spouse in court and ask him about any suspicious accounts. He'll be under oath and therefore obligated to answer your questions truthfully.