Everybody wants a fair outcome in their divorce, but people’s emotions often affect what they think is appropriate and fair. Some people, especially those with significant personal assets, may plan ahead to try to deprive their spouse of their share of certain marital assets in the event of a divorce.
If you have any reason to suspect that your spouse has hidden assets, that will affect how you approach your divorce. Requesting formal discovery and working with a forensic accountant could be necessary if you suspect financial misconduct by your spouse.
How might someone try to hide marital assets from their spouse and the courts?
They start a secret bank account
Some people will spend a year or longer taking a little bit of money from each paycheck and hiding it in a secret account. If one spouse does not know about the existence of a bank account, they won’t know to request their share of its balance in the divorce or information about the account during discovery.
Tracking down a hidden bank account may require professional help, but noticeable discrepancies in income and household budgets are often warning flags that there could be a hidden account out there.
They hide property
Have you noticed that certain pieces of art or furniture are gone from your house? You may have thought that your spouse simply wanted to redecorate, but they might want to deprive you of certain marital assets instead.
Moving physical assets to a storage unit, a secret rental or the house in a family member or friend are ways that people could take valuable assets from the marital estate before filing for divorce in the hope that their spouse won’t notice.
They make multiple large purchases
There used to be a saying that diamonds were a girl’s best friend. This cliche comes from the idea that people don’t have to divide their personal property, like jewelry, in a divorce.
In modern divorces, even assets clearly owned and enjoyed by one spouse can influence how a couple divides their other assets. One spouse buying up valuable items in a niche area of personal interest that their spouse would not use is a way to hide marital assets in what seems like separate, private property.
Locating potentially hidden assets is an important step for those who want a fair outcome in the property division process of their divorce.