Property division can be one of the most stressful aspects of a divorce. A life built together is bisected, with high-value and emotionally important items suddenly at stake. It is a lot to handle.
Hidden assets can add further strain. One spouse, hoping to hold on to more, may conceal the value or existence of certain items, tipping the scales in their favor during this division process. While this is illegal, it does still happen.
Where to look for hidden assets
A plotting spouse can try to employ a number of different strategies to hide assets during a divorce. That could include a hidden bank account, temporary transfer of assets to a third party, the creation of fraudulent loans or debt, or the delay of additional work compensation.
Fortunately, it is often possible to find evidence of these tactics and uncover the full scope of the truth. Where should you and your attorney look? Consider these possibilities:
- Inconsistencies on tax returns over the past five years
- Checking account activity, including cancelled checks
- Suspicious withdrawals from or deposits to savings accounts
- Pertinent tax records from the local assessor
- A bonus, raise, stock option or new business development that occurs right after the divorce
- Close friends who may agree to temporarily “borrow” money or hold valuable items, with the intent to return everything once the divorce is complete
Property division should be fair
Hiding assets requires time and effort. It is done intentionally to alter the equation the courts see when determining how to divide marital property.
Under the law, property division during divorce should be equitable. If either you, your attorney or the courts do not know certain valuable assets exist, the entire evaluation is skewed in the other party’s favor.
While uncovering the truth is not always easy, with the right approach, it can often be done.