Divorce can be a scary thing for anyone. For a Florida individual who has been married for a considerable period of time, it can be worse. They are likely at a significant disadvantage when it comes to economics. In many cases, they may have sacrificed their own career for the sake of their children and their spouse. Because many couples divide responsibilities, they may have been the primary nurturer – the solid, dependable force within the home. Their spouse may have assumed primary responsibility for financial matters. In such a situation, the individual is what many divorce attorneys call an “out-spouse.” When it comes to their own financial affairs, they are an “outsider.”
As if being an outsider weren’t enough, they may be faced with a spouse who isn’t happy with “the deal” that Florida law will allow their spouse in the divorce. Florida law may call the division of property “equitable.” The spouse may think that they earned it; therefore, they should keep it. They may try to hide assets, so that they are not part of the marital estate that must be split.
Five Common Ways That Spouses Try to Hide Assets
While each couple’s economic and psychological situation is unique, there are a number of common “maneuvers” that spouses make when they desire to hide assets. Here is a non-exhaustive list:
- Defer salary or commissions to a point in the future. Particularly where the spouse has control over the timing of contracts, sales commissions, and bonuses, they may be tempted to defer them so as to limit their income and the couple’s assets, particularly if the divorce is their idea.
- Create a custodial account in their new partner’s name. This one is hard to spot. They can begin moving income and/or cash into an account that has been created in another’s name. There can be risks for them in this scenario, of course. The new partner may have the spouse’s disdain for fidelity. They could find it difficult to get it back, if they and their new partner were to split.
- Overpay the IRS or other creditors. Out-spouses tend to overlook this one. Overpaying taxes can be as good as a hidden bank account. Following the divorce, they uses that overpayment to handle their future tax liability. If they were to overpay $10,000, half of that should ordinarily have belonged to their spouse.
- Stash cash in a hiding place. Again, if they start early and use small amounts each time, this one can be difficult to uncover. Divorce attorneys report how some spouses have used debit cards to purchase a small amount of groceries, getting, say $50 in cash at the end of each transaction. The $60 expense at the grocery store looks legitimate. If this done at the grocer’s, the drug store, and the dry cleaners on a weekly basis, significant cash can be secreted.
- Purchase coins, gold, silver, Persian rugs, etc. Here, again, their idea is to get the assets in a form that can be kept outside the marriage and which they can use later. Watch for any change in their habits.
Experienced Legal Counsel Is Crucial in Finding Hidden Assets
Are you an “out-spouse” facing an uncomfortable divorce? Are you at a financial disadvantage when compared with your spouse? Has your spouse managed the family’s finances for years? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you need and deserve the services of an experienced, aggressive Florida divorce attorney. The Duval/St. Johns County area law firm of Beller & Bustamante, P.L. has the experience and knowledge to assist you in locating hidden assets. We can represent your interests vigorously when it comes to a divorce and property division. Contact us online or call us at (904) 288-4414 today.