During a divorce, each spouse is legally obligated to report assets, including financial accounts and property, as well as any debt. Failure to do so, which prevents the courts from distributing those assets equally among the spouses, is known as hiding assets. There are several ways an asset may become hidden, including:
The person opens an account unbeknownst to their spouse.
A person reports an asset's value as less than its actual worth.
A person falsifies income statements.
One spouse uses cash to purchase traveler's checks that are difficult to trace.
A person reports a debt; however, the debt is fake because the party who is owed money is a friend who will transfer the funds back after the divorce finalized.
The person fails to report that their spouse is eligible for benefits.
When one spouse owns a business independently from the other, it opens new avenues of hiding assets. For example, the spouse may take money from the business for personal use, make false business payments, or even delay the signing of contracts until after the divorce to reduce the apparent value of the business.
A spouse who hides assets may face criminal charges such as fraud, contempt of court, and perjury that will remain on the person's record. One might think that hiding assets will save them money, but it can be highly risky to do so. If caught hiding assets, the punishment for this crime can be extremely costly.
Concerned Your Spouse is Hiding Assets?
If you are going through a divorce, and you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, you should speak with your attorney on how to discover proof of hidden assets. It may be possible to locate hidden assets by having assets valued, uncovering dishonesty in financial documents, or finding people who have witnessed the hiding of assets.
A family lawyer who specializes in divorce can help you locate hidden assets and protect your assets that are not shared in the marriage or navigate the tricky issue of hidden assets in a divorce. It's crucial that hidden assets are uncovered to ensure that property is equally divided between spouses.
At the Law Offices of Christopher L. Hoglin, P.C., we are dedicated to protecting your assets. Call us today at (626) 653-4075 if you need assistance with your divorce.