By Mary Ann Pekara
What Happens When You Try to Hide Assets During Divorce?
Hiding assets in divorce is illegal and can cause more trouble during the divorce process. If you try to hide assets from your spouse during divorce, most likely you may be caught.
When the divorce court finds out you have been hiding assets, it may order you to pay any legal fees and expenses your spouse may have from the divorce process. It may also be possible that the divorce court will force you to forfeit the disputed assets for lying.
Hiding assets during the divorce process is lying under oath, which could cost you your credibility for the rest of the divorce proceedings. The divorce court can choose not to regard any more of your testimony during the divorce trial, and your divorce attorney may resign from the case.
Searching for Hidden Assets
To make the debt and asset division fair, all assets, property and debt need to be presented to the divorce court. Your spouse may try to hide assets away from joint accounts in divorce. It can be difficult to find assets your spouse has hidden or to prove that they exist.
The discovery process during the divorce trial is when you would gather evidence and proof of all your assets and any that you think might be hidden. A local divorce lawyer would be able to help you with collecting evidence and proving your spouse has hidden assets. With help from a divorce attorney, you can also find out if you may need to hire experts to help track down hidden assets.
Possible Places to Hide Assets
You spouse can hide assets in a number of places, including:
Your spouse may not report the correct amount that was refunded. You can find out the actual amount by filing a form with the Internal Revenue Service.
Children's Bank Accounts
Custodial parents can set up bank and savings accounts under the child's name. Joint accounts that your spouse shares with other family may also be a place you'll want to look for hidden money.
Safe Deposit Boxes
Your spouse may have set up a separate safe deposit box. It may be a good idea to see if the times your spouse accessed the box are around the time large amounts of money were received.
Manipulation of Expenses or Income
It's possible for a business owner to manipulate expenses, benefits and income so it looks like there are less assets or income. Your spouse may also ask an employer to delay bonuses or raises so the additional income will be considered separate property. Watch out for your spouse not reporting income on financial statements and tax returns.
Undervalued Property or Collections
Property such as collections, artwork, antiques and hobby equipment should be appraised so your spouse isn't able to undervalue any items.
Time Shares & Frequent Flyer Miles
Time share benefits and miles accumulated from flying are generally not included in property distribution, but more divorce courts are starting to consider these as assets. Make sure you know what benefits you have earned.
Money can be hidden in many other accounts and forms of payment, including security deposits, retirement accounts, payments for fake debts, travelers' checks, certificate "bearer" municipal bonds or Series EE Savings Bonds. Be aware of all the account both you and your spouse have in your names or in the names of family or friends.
Search for Hidden Assets with a Divorce Attorney
A local divorce lawyer can help you define the accounts and types of assets you should be looking for to determine whether your spouse is hiding assets. Learn about asset protection and what accounts and property to check out when looking for hidden assets. Speak to a local divorce attorney today by calling 877-349-1310 or filling out a divorce case review form. Get started protecting your financial future and keeping track of your assets today.