During a divorce, one of the most difficult hurdles to overcome is the division of assets. It is during this process when divorcing spouses often act out of anger and fear, making it likely that disputes will arise.
One argument that can arise involves allegations of hidden assets. Spouses are expected to fully and accurately disclose all their assets and liabilities during divorce. If they do not, they are breaking the law. Still, people are tempted to hide property or cash in the following places as a form of financial reassurance.
Secret bank accounts
Your spouse may be stockpiling money in a bank account of which you have no knowledge. This might be an offshore account or a separate bank account he or she has been funneling money to without telling you.
Giving money away (sort of)
A person might hide assets by giving it away temporarily. This could include delaying bonus payments at work or giving a family member or friend a “loan” that you get back after the divorce.
Online payment and digital currency make it easier for people to exchange money without leaving a paper trail. A spouse might have bitcoins you don’t know about, or give money to friends to hold onto until after the divorce by paying them through apps like Venmo.
Paying money to shield it from divorce is another route a person might take. People could hide assets by buying an extravagant item and then downplaying its value. It is also possible to protect assets by setting up a life insurance policy. They might also overpay their taxes and use the excess to pay off future tax liabilities.
Identifying these assets
Uncovering hidden assets can be very difficult. However, you can start by thoroughly examining the accounts you know about and looking for discrepancies. Make sure you know what money is coming in and what money is going out.
You can also work with a financial analyst and your attorney to conduct more thorough searches.
Securing a fair settlement in your divorce requires full and accurate financial information. If you have questions or concerns about your soon-to-be ex hiding assets, you would be wise to discuss them with your legal representative to better understand your next steps.