When couples get a divorce, one of the most significant matters to discuss is how to divide their assets and property. For some couples, this process can quickly become heated and lead to countless disagreements.
Some spouses choose to hide their property to obtain more property in the divorce settlement. What does this mean? How do you discover hidden assets? How will it impact my divorce? We answer these questions and more below.
What Are Hidden Assets?
When couples cannot agree on how to split their assets in a divorce, the court will step in and decide for them based on numerous factors. However, some individuals will attempt to hide or get rid of their assets to keep them from going to their future ex-spouse. These assets are known as "hidden assets" and can significantly impact how fairly property is divided in a divorce.
Essentially, a hidden asset is any possession, resource, or financial benefit that one spouse purposefully hides away so the other cannot find them.
Some examples of hidden assets may include:
- Cash, bonds, mutual funds, or stocks;
- Cash value in insurance policies;
- Business Assets;
- Foreign Assets; or
- Valuable antiques or collectibles.
How to Hide Assets
Assets can be hidden in numerous ways. A common example is when one spouse "gives" or "donates" money to a friend or relative who will then return it to the spouse when the divorce is finalized. Another way that assets can be hidden is through a spouse placing possessions or investments into a safety deposit box under a friend or family member's name.
Other ways assets can be hidden include:
- Using joint funds to pay off a mortgage debt or personal credit cards;
- Using funds for fake business expenses;
- Working with their employer to get a raise, bonus, or promotion after the divorce;
- Putting funds into a new 401(k), pension, or other financial plans;
- Using a revocable trust to grant money to someone else;
- Purposely devaluing a business or real estate during the divorce.
Locating Hidden Assets
Hidden assets clearly have a significant impact on the outcome of a divorce, making it crucial to locate them. To unearth hidden assets from your spouse, consider doing the following:
- Look through income tax returns for hidden assets;
- Examine bank statements for suspicious withdrawals or deposits;
- Identify missing or canceled checks and who they are payable to;
- Compare declared income vs. lifestyle choices/purchases;
- Identify fraudulent business write-offs; and
- Check public records for more clues.
While these methods can uncover some assets, you might need additional assistance. It's crucial to speak to a skilled Pasadena attorney if you suspect your spouse of hiding property in your divorce. At Gille Kaye Law Group, PC, our team has the resources to uncover hidden assets successfully. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you need help during this complex process. We are here to protect you and your best interests.
Call (626) 340-0955 today to speak to a Pasadena lawyer about your case.