Divorce has a way of making people act in uncharacteristically negative or unkind manners. A desire for revenge against a former spouse, as well as a focus on winning the divorce process, can lead people to engage in truly underhanded behaviors.

Bad decisions can impact any divorce, but they are particularly dangerous for families with high assets. After all, the greater the overall value of your marital assets, the more reason someone would have to engage in underhanded practices for personal profit. Certain assets, such as real estate holdings or ownership interest in a business, can become particularly contentious issues.

Whether you are considering a divorce or have already initiated the process, there are certain red flags you should watch out for that could indicate your ex is trying to manipulate the process in their favor.

Hiding or destroying financial records is a sign of major issues

Financial transparency is critical to a fair and positive outcome to the divorce process. When one party hides important financial records, destroys paperwork or otherwise attempts to cover their financial trail, it is almost always a sign of duplicity and inappropriate behavior.

The obvious workaround to this problem is to obtain copies of important financial records as early on in the divorce process as is feasible. Unfortunately, if the breakdown of your marriage has been a slow, ongoing process, your spouse may already know that divorce is imminent.

Thankfully, you will have options, such as contacting the IRS and employers for copies of tax documentation and income records. Having accurate financial records is important if you hope to obtain a fair outcome to the asset division process and track down potentially hidden assets.

Destroying, selling or giving away assets is often a tactic to diminish the marital estate

Sometimes, instead of trying to hide assets, one spouse will attempt to diminish the overall assets from your marriage. People may give away, throw out or otherwise destroy items of significant value.

Some people may even sell items to friends or family members for a fraction of their actual worth. Then, they claim the cash that they earned as an asset in the divorce and later purchase the valuable item back.

This practice is a way to deprive one spouse of the value of items within the marital state. It is a form of dissipation, and the courts will generally penalize your spouse if you can prove that they are habitually engaging in an effort to diminish the value of your marital estate.

Watch for big bills and major spending at the end of your relationship

Some people want to diminish the marital estate, but they do so in a more direct manner than hiding or giving away assets. Instead, they might go on a shopping spree. If your ex is spending your money or racking up credit card debt by buying a bunch of unnecessary things, that may also be a form of dissipation.

If you notice a large amount of shopping going on, you might want to look closely at banking statements and credit card bills and retain them if you do suspect dissipation.

High asset divorces often require extra effort on the part of divorcing individuals and their attorneys to ensure that everything is fair and appropriate. Watching for these red flags is only one step that you should take in order to protect yourself and your assets in a divorce.