Leslie L. Abrigo, APC
619-600-5902 | 877-454-5297 (LAWS)

How do you know if your spouse is hiding assets before a divorce?

If you are going through a divorce, you may be feeling that the relationship you are having with your spouse has become confrontational. When this happens, it does not always mean it will manifest in anger or aggressive behavior. But what can happen is they may get a sense of winning the divorce and maybe even taking control of property they believe is more entitled to them instead of sharing. This can happen even more so in marriages that are wealthier and include high assets.

What kind of assets are usually hidden?

Since the asset is undisclosed, a hidden asset can be almost anything. Many times, it is secret money. This can happen when one partner in the marriage oversees the finances and can easily move money without the other person knowing. It can even be something as secret as a secret stash of cash. Money can sometimes be handed over to family or friends for safe keeping and to stay hidden until the divorce is finalized. If they are ever asked about the money, they can claim it is for some type of service and the money is for their wages. Sometimes a person may ask to have work bonuses deferred until after a divorce or they may downplay income and make it look like they pay more in taxes. Some people may know how to hide assets by not divulging their true value. These assets may not look valuable to the untrained eye, but after a divorce they can fetch a substantial amount of money. These items can include jewelry, antiques, cars and sports memorabilia.

How can you locate hidden assets?

Sometimes the game of hide and go seek is not easy because the person doing the hiding is very crafty and does not want to be found. That is how it is with high-asset property hiding. However, there are ways to notice if something deviant is going on. The first thing you want to do is see if you can notice any changes or inconsistencies in the behavior of your spouse. Are questions you are asking not being answered or passed off as being unimportant? Can you see signs of unusual spending habits not balancing out with income? You may want to keep an eye on family members or friends who they used to rarely talk to now become a significant part of their life. These people may be used to hide money or assets.

What happens if someone is caught hiding assets?

Consequences of hiding assets can all depend on what was attempted to be hidden and what the value of the hidden assets are. In some cases, the spouse caught hiding assets may be required to pay back what is owed to the other spouse, even if it is paid back over a long period of time. The payback can be part of a higher payout amount for spousal support. Other times, a spouse who is caught hiding assets may be asked to pay court fees or in extreme cases they could be subject to jail time.

There can be a fine line between watching out for a spouse who is hiding assets during a divorce and all out invading their privacy. The best way to navigate questions you may have about this topic is to speak with an experienced attorney who is accustomed to dealing with divorces where this sort of behavior may happen.

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