Hidden assets can create problems for your divorce. If your spouse is hiding assets, this could make it difficult for you to receive your equitable share of marital property, and you may also end up paying more (or receiving less) for alimony or child support. As a result, if you are going through a divorce, uncovering any hidden assets should be a top priority.
In fact, identifying your spouse’s hidden assets – and preventing your spouse from successfully hiding new assets – may be something that you want to do before you file for divorce. There are various methods for uncovering hidden assets, but if you wait to investigate until after you file, you may give your spouse the upper hand. This is not to say that you cannot uncover hidden assets after filing for divorce (there are legal processes to make sure that you can), but rather, by planning ahead, you may be able to avoid unnecessary costs and headaches along the way.
What are Hidden Assets?
Hidden assets can include income and property that are completely unknown to one spouse, or that one spouse attempts to undervalue or disguise in order to keep more than their fair share in a divorce. Some common examples of ways that spouses attempt to hide assets include:
- Keeping tips or other income separate from the family’s finances
- Seeking to delay raises or bonuses until after a divorce is final
- Secretly buying gifts for a boyfriend or girlfriend
- “Repaying” a non-existent debt to a friend
- Understating the value of investments, artwork, or other assets
If your spouse owns a business, he or she may also pay salaries to non-existent employees, or pay salaries or consulting fees to friends and family members who do not actually perform any services for the company. Skimming cash, delaying business deals (in order to deflate the business’s value until after the divorce), and using business accounts to make personal purchases are all common methods of hiding assets as well.
Uncovering Hidden Assets
As we mentioned above, if you are planning to file for divorce and are concerned that your spouse may be hiding assets, you may want to investigate before you file. Once you file, if your spouse is knowingly hiding assets, he or she may take further steps in order to conceal the truth.
Depending on the circumstances, you may consider making copies of tax returns, bank statements, pay stubs, receipts, and other records that could prove that your spouse is hiding assets. It may also make sense to hire a forensic accountant to uncover more evidence and make sense of the information you have collected. But, before you take these steps or do anything else that could impact your divorce, you should seek advice about your personal situation from an experienced attorney.
Are You Concerned that Your Spouse is Hiding Assets? Contact Beller & Bustamante, P.L. Today
Beller & Bustamante, P.L. is a Jacksonville, FL family law firm that represents clients in divorces in Duval, St. Johns, Clay, and Putnam Counties. If you are concerned that your spouse is hiding assets, we can make sure that you receive your fair share in your divorce. To learn more about what we can do to help, please call (904) 288-4414 or contact us online today.