One of the basic principles of divorce is that both couples have to disclose the assets that they own. These assets will then be divided, a process that the court can help with when couples cannot agree.
However, some people will attempt to take assets from their spouses by hiding their wealth during this process. Doing so means they get to keep 100% of what they have hidden. This is not legal, of course, but it does happen, and you need to know what warning signs to look for.
A few ways people tend to hide their assets
Assets can be hidden in many ways and the following is certainly not a comprehensive list, but it shows you a few of the more common tactics:
- Making small withdrawals consistently, such as taking cash back with every in-store purchase. These small amounts tend to get overlooked, but the money can then be hidden in a safe deposit box or some other location.
- Channeling family money into a business, perhaps by creating false expenses or debts that need to be paid.
- Moving money into a third party’s possession. For instance, your spouse could give a substantial sum to a friend, call it a gift, and ask the friend to give it back after the divorce.
- Overpaying certain bills or taxes in order to get a refund after the divorce.
- Lying about the value of assets. For instance, claiming that a piece of art is worth $1,000 when it’s really worth $10,000.
Are you worried that your spouse may be hiding assets? You may be able to take legal steps to uncover them and ensure that the property division process is really legitimate.