The divorcing spouses or a judge can make decisions about the division of marital assets after a divorce. The division of marital and separate property in the property distribution is governed by state law. In most cases, each spouse will receive a share of their joint property’s overall value. Despite the fact that it is illegal, one spouse may attempt to conceal assets in order to avoid property split. A person can utilize a variety of strategies to hide their possessions. However, hidden assets can be discovered and made accessible for a fair division after a divorce.
Preventing Harm from Hidden Assets
Hiding assets to avoid an equal split of assets upon divorce is both monetarily and legally detrimental to the innocent spouse. Making copies of financial records such as tax returns, bank statements, and pay stubs is one method spouses can protect themselves before the divorce proceedings begin. Setting up individual accounts that can only be accessed by the person specified on the account is another technique to secure assets.
Undervaluing or concealing marital assets is a common practice
A spouse can try to hide assets in a variety of ways in order to avoid them being included in the divorce property division. The following are some of the methods used to conceal a person’s assets:
- Business funds are given to a family member or close friend for fictitious services, then refunded to the spouse after the divorce.
- Salary checks are sent to people who don’t exist.
- Collaborating with the spouse’s company to postpone business contracts, increases, or bonuses until the divorce is finalized.
- Taking money from a business owned by one of the spouses
- Cash is exchanged for traveler’s checks.
- Payment of a fictitious debt to a relative or acquaintance, which will be reimbursed to the spouse after the divorce
- Income not declared on tax filings or financial statements
- Purchasing “bearer” certificates and/or Series EE Savings Bonds.
- Undervalued or ignored artwork, antiques, or other valuable items.
- Rent, college fees, or presents given to a girlfriend/boyfriend are all examples of expenses.
- A child’s Social Security number is used to open an account.
- The other spouse was completely unaware of the existence of a retirement account.
Locating Undiscovered Assets
It might be difficult to uncover hidden assets, and proving their existence can be tough. In most divorce cases, formal discovery procedures can aid in the uncovering of assets that have been hidden by one spouse. For example, the court can mandate the disclosure of certain financial data, which may expose hidden assets. Furthermore, because forensic accountants are trained to appraise the value of investments or firms, read and evaluate various financial documents, and testify in court, they may be able to assist in the discovery of hidden assets. Finally, a private investigator may be required to assist with the discovery of such assets.
Contact attorney David Frangos of Frangos Legal LLC if you would like to discuss how we can assist you in your divorce or family law matter. Schedule a consultation and case review by emailing us at [email protected], by telephone at 317-348-2150, or by booking online.