WHEN FAIR PROCEEDINGS ARE IMPEDED BY A HIDDEN ASSET SCHEME
Whether you planned your wedding for months and went all out on a lavish celebration with hundreds of your closest friends and family members or you dashed off to elope with a justice of the peace officiating your union, getting married was likely one of the most significant decisions you had made in your life up to that point. Similarly, deciding to file for divorce is also an intensely personal, weighty decision that most people do not take lightly.
Regardless of the exact reasons for your divorce, it’s understandable that you want to keep proceedings as low-key and low-stress as possible so that you can resolve any issues that warrant negotiation, finalize your agreement, leave the past behind and move on in life. If you suspect that your spouse is creating a problem that would prevent a fair and agreeable settlement, you can ask the court to intervene.
Hiding assets in divorce is illegal
Financial issues tend to be a topic that sparks contention between divorcing spouses. If you think your situation has progressed beyond mere differences of opinion into a scheme to keep you from getting what you’re entitled to, you may want to take immediate action to gather evidence of any untoward behavior. The following is a list of some of the most common ways people try to hide assets in an attempt to keep them out of divorce proceedings:
- You might find hidden assets right under your nose, so to speak. Scheming spouses often stash cash around the house, in drawers, closets or strong boxes, etc.
- If you’re looking for clues to catch your spouse in the act, you might want to carefully review your joint bank account statements because spouses often transfer assets by making withdrawals and depositing the funds in individual accounts.
- Do you think one of your spouse’s friends or relatives would be willing to hold on to money for him or her until the court finalizes your divorce? This is another common trick a scheming spouse may use to conceal cash.
- Overpaying the Internal Revenue Service or a credit company is another way that some people use to keep money out of divorce proceedings.
- If you are business owners, you’ll definitely want to review the company’s expense account, new-hire list and payroll. Creating fake expenses or hiring ghost employees that don’t exist could not only be a way that a spouse hides assets; it may also be a form of tax fraud.
If you’ve always been a key player regarding your family finances, remained updated on all your accounts and expenditures, kept your portfolio or files well-organized, and basically know where your money is, it shouldn’t be too difficult to spot a hidden asset problem. But many spouses are out of the loop when it comes to finances because they were quite happy allowing their partners to take care of all that during the marriage. If you’re in this category, you may have your work cut out to resolve the issue.
Where to seek support
If you know someone who has gone through a similar experience in divorce, it may help to talk to that person to learn more about how he or she ultimately resolved the problem. From a legal standpoint, an experienced family law attorney can also help you uncover any hidden assets and obtain the fair divorce settlement you are owed.