Many people in the northern parts of the United States think of Florida as a utopian location where they hope to retire, or just get away for a week or so to chase their troubles away. However, Floridians encounter their share of problems, just like everyone else. For instance, many people throughout the state find themselves involved in divorce proceedings. In fact, some face serious challenges surrounding contentious child custody issues or asset division complications.
If you belong to this group, you might have already familiarized yourself with state law regarding the division of assets in divorce. As an equitable distribution state, the courts aim to provide spouses going through divorce with a fair division of all their assets. Although, that doesn’t necessarily mean everything will be divided right down the middle. Unfortunately, many spouses run into problems in this area when their soon-to-be former married counterparts hide assets to keep them from division.
Signs of illegal asset activity
Intentionally hiding assets so that you fail to receive your fair portion of them violates state law. If you’re worried this might happen in your particular situation, it might help to review the following list of common ways of carrying out such crimes:
· Repeated cash back at points of purchase: It’s definitely not a crime to answer, “Yes” when a cashier asks if you’d like cash back when using your debit card. However, it might allude to questionable behavior if someone does it repeatedly in order to tuck a stockpile of cash away without a spouse’s knowledge to keep it from asset division in a divorce.
· Asking a boss to delay a raise in pay: “No thanks, I don’t want a raise,” says no one, ever, right? Right, except some people do request that their bosses withhold their salary increases until the completion of a divorce in order to keep those funds out of their spouses’ reach in court. If you suspect this type of unlawful behavior, it may be worth investigating further.
· Delaying an IRS refund: Some people ask the Internal Revenue Service to hold on to a refund in order to create a fat overpayment refund after a divorce, which violates the law. Your spouse might use this common trick to hide assets.
· Transferring money to single account: If your spouse takes money from a joint account without your approval or knowledge and transfers it to an account that doesn’t bear your name, it could definitely be a red flag warning that he or she intends to hide assets.
· Giving cash gifts to friends: Another way to hide assets involves secretly asking friends to hold money until after a divorce.
One way to deter the potential for hidden assets requires you to familiarize yourself with your own finances. Knowing the location of your assets and money at all times makes it easier to discover when it’s missing. This could make you feel as though you don’t trust your spouse, but leaving the finances to your spouse without at least knowing what goes on could jeopardize your future in the event of a divorce. When you got married, you likely never imagined you’d face a situation where that same person would hide money to keep you from getting it in a divorce.
This situation often creates a highly emotionally charged atmosphere, and a network of support helps you remain focused and obtain a fair and agreeable outcome. An experienced Florida family law attorney can explain the equitable distribution process and help you overcome any obstacles that arise.