The issue of concealing assets during divorce is common, so it’s important to discuss what to look for. When one spouse is dependent on the other spouse, it can be easy for the dependent spouse to feel like they need to settle their divorce quickly and for a lesser amount than what they’re entitled to. As a result, they could lose out on getting a fair settlement.
What to Look For
There are some signs that your spouse may be hiding assets. For example, they have complete control of your bank account information and online passwords. They are also very secretive about financial affairs, including deleting personal financial programs like Quickbooks on your shared devices.
Suspicious behavior may also include unusual purchases of items that could be sold later. Typical tactics used by the spouse attempting to hide assets include:
- Taking out high interest loans in both of your names.
- Reducing deposits into your shared bank accounts.
- Refusing to sign important documents such as tax returns.
- Taking frequent trips out of town.
- Underreporting revenue.
- Stashing unrecorded cash.
- Transferring ownership of valuable assets to family and friends.
A spouse who is trying to hide assets usually has specific objectives. In general, their goals are to hide, understate, or undervalue the assets they want to keep from their spouse. Unethical spouses also tend to overstate their debts. Some spouses go as far as reporting lower revenue or income than they actually have while inflating their expenses.
A spouse caught hiding assets during your divorce can get in quite a bit of trouble. A judge could impose sanctions, which are monetary penalties. A judge could also force the sneaky spouse to give up their entire share of a remaining asset to their spouse. In some cases, as a last resort, the spouse hiding assets can be arrested in very serious cases. This is more likely if the spouse continues to hide assets even after it has been brought to the family court’s attention.
When a spouse suspects that their spouse may not be fully disclosing or otherwise hiding assets, it is in their best interest to speak to a family law attorney as soon as possible. An experienced family law attorney is familiar with the tactics that deceitful spouses use to hide assets you may be entitled to.