Property division in a divorce is based on a fair and equitable separation of assets. The court considers all of the property that the couple owned together as well as any debts from the marriage. However, the court’s opinion will be skewed if it does not have a full picture of all of the assets of each spouse. Some spouses, unfortunately, attempt to hide assets as a means to get more out of the divorce. The practice is regrettably very common.
This unethical behavior is not only reprehensible but is also illegal. If you are going through a divorce, you should watch for these red flags to determine if your spouse is hiding assets to get more out of the divorce.
- Your spouse gives large “loans” to family members.
Moving money out of your reach is by far the most common way to conceal assets. One of the ways that spouses can engage in this practice is by asking family members or friends to hold on to the money until after the divorce is finalized.
- Your spouse has a PayPal account.
Using third-party payment systems like PayPal is becoming more and more common for regular purchases. However, online money transfer systems make it easy to hide purchases and funds. Be sure to ask about these types of accounts in the divorce process because they may be overlooked.
- Your spouse has a sudden decrease in salary.
If your spouse’s salary drops suddenly, he or she may have asked the employer to withhold payments, bonuses, or stock options until after the divorce is finalized. This type of request allows your spouse’s overall income to decrease significantly going forward.
- Your spouse is overpaying taxes.
Some deceptive spouses will use the federal or state government tax authorities to “hold” money for them while they are divorce is pending. They know that the taxing authority will refund this money at the end of the year, but the money paid in taxes will not be considered as income in the divorce.
- Your spouse is making frivolous purchases.
Another common tactic to hide assets is to purchase items that may be undervalued within the divorce proceeding. For example, if your spouse buys expensive antique furniture and uses it in his office, the average person may not understand the actual value of that furniture. Then, after the divorce, the spouse can sell the furniture for its true value with little repercussions.
- Your spouse is becoming secretive about his or her finances.
Some couples deliberately keep separate financial documents and accounts. However, if it seems like your spouse is suddenly less forthcoming about his or her income or expenses, that could be a red flag. If he or she suddenly does not want you looking at bills or sharing financial information, it may mean that they are hiding something.
Consequences of Hiding Assets
Hiding assets in a divorce are illegal, and pointing it out to a judge could result in contempt of court charges. That may mean that your spouse will have to pay for your attorney’s fees, fines, or face other consequences. In some circumstances, it may mean that you will get more out of the divorce than you otherwise would have. The Law Offices of Kayleene Writer can help you ensure that your divorce is fair and equitable. Call today for more information.