If you are going through a divorce, or thinking about filing for divorce, you may be wondering…
“Is my spouse hiding assets?”
Hiding assets during a divorce is unethical and outright illegal, but it happens much more often than people might expect.
Many couples have complex asset and financial situations, and sometimes only one spouse is fully aware of all the moving parts. Sometimes during or pre-divorce one spouse may try to take advantage of these situations by hiding assets or finances.
Here are 9 tactics people use to hide assets:
1. Underreported income on tax returns and/or financial statements
Often times the courts can only divi assets based on what has been reported and is on record. If your spouse has underreported income on tax returns, then that will be the numbers used to divide and assign assets.
2. Overpayment on taxes to the IRS or creditors
Overpaying on taxes or other bills is a sneaky way to temporarily hide that money, and then once a divorce is finalized claim the refund or overpay credit.
3. Undervalued items that were recently purchased by your spouse
If your spouse is claiming that the brand new TV they bought for themselves was only $200 or if there are other seemingly big purchases that aren’t being brought up in negotiations is usually a sign that your spouse is trying to hide assets.
4. Hiding of cash in deposit boxes or in other locations
Keep an eye on your cash reserves. If there are large amounts of cash being withdrawn from accounts, it could be a sign your spouse is stashing away cash until the divorce is finalized.
5. Deferment of bonuses, salary, or commissions
For some people, bonuses and commissions can make up a large portion of annual income. If your spouse delays getting these, or even defers salary to a later date, this could drastically affect the division of assets.
6. Report of false or fabricated debt
Your spouse may attempt to establish phony loans or expenses. By doing so they can make payments to entities in which they will be able to get the money back from after the divorce is final.
7. Transfer of stock
The transfer of stocks/investment accounts into the name of family members, business partners or “dummy” companies is often used as a way to hide wealth and assets. Try to keep tabs on all stocks and investments and look for any recent transfers.
8. Creation of a custodial bank account in the name of your children or someone else
If your spouse is trying to hide assets they may create custodial accounts under the name of your children, a family member, or even a new girlfriend. Be on the lookout for any new accounts your spouse may be interacting with.
With the rising popularity in cryptocurrency, and with some having the ability to be mostly anonymous, you should check to make sure your spouse doesn’t have any hiding in crypto wallets, online exchanges, or in hardware wallets.
So there you have it! Stay diligent and aware of your spouses activity if you suspect they may be trying to hide assets. Overall the best approach is to stay as informed about your assets and finances as you can and disclose everything to your legal team.
Need help uncovering your spouse’s assets?
Debra Opri and Associates has been handling divorce cases in Los Angeles for over 30 years. If you need assistance in uncovering assets your spouse may be hiding or are thinking of filing for divorce, feel free to contact us.