When Spouses Try to Hide Assets in Divorce
Unfortunately, some spouses try to play hardball by hiding assets before or during divorce proceedings so they can keep their ex-spouses from obtaining their fair share. Some spouses choose to hide assets because they fear they might receive less in the final divorce agreement, while others have managed their household’s finances for years and think they can get away with it because their ex has been left in the dark.
No matter the reason, spouses who attempt to hide assets in their divorces can face serious consequences for knowingly withholding financial information or assets to prevent the other party from getting their share. Penalties can include receiving a smaller share of the marital assets to being ordered to pay for the other party’s attorney fees. You can also face criminal charges for contempt of court and perjury.
Strategies Spouses Use to Hide Assets
The following are some of the common strategies spouses use to conceal assets:
- Exploiting the other partner’s lack of knowledge about their financial portfolio by hiding income and assets
- Failing to report all earned income to the other spouse
- Overpaying taxes to the IRS to get a later refund
- Intentionally under-reporting income
- Creating fraudulent debts to lower total net worth
- Hiding large amounts of cash around the house or in a safe deposit box at a financial institution
- Purchasing expensive items and then claiming a lower value to conceal the true net worth
- Giving cash or assets to a friend to keep out of sight during the divorce proceedings
What To Do If You Suspect Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets?
If you believe your ex-spouse is trying to hide property or money to prevent you from receiving all of the assets you are entitled to, then you should immediately get in touch with an experienced lawyer so they can send out subpoenas, depositions, and request records to trace where the funds are really going. With the help of a forensic accountant, your lawyer can find and review bank accounts, retirement benefits, real estate, stocks, and bonds that your ex hasn’t disclosed.