Divorce can become incredibly contentious, especially when it comes down to dividing assets. When so much is at stake and an emotional war is waging on, spouses sometimes try to hide assets to avoid its involvement in the division of assets process. Familiarize yourself with the ways in which a spouse may hide assets to know what to look for.
If your soon-to-be ex-spouse is a business owner, they might try to hide assets in a few different ways. This includes:
- Making salary payments to an employee who does not exist, so that the checks can later be voided once the divorce is finalized.
- Using business funds to pay someone close, such as a family member, for services that were never performed, with the expectation that the money will be returned after the divorce is finalized.
- Delaying business contracts to avoid raising the value of the business in the midst of the divorce.
- Skimming cash from the business.
For non-business assets, there are even more ways in which a spouse might try to disguise or undervalue assets, such as:
- Setting up a custodial account in the name of a child, with the child's social security number.
- Making debt payments to a friend for non-existent debt.
- Colluding with an employer to delay the receipt of bonuses, raises, or stock options until after the divorce is finalized.
- Not reporting income on tax returns and financial statements.
- Hiding high-price items like antiques, artwork, gun collections, or other objects that might be overlooked.
- Keeping cash in the form of travelers' checks.
While some of these might be difficult to acquire evidence for, some might leave a paper trail if your lawyer knows what to look for during the discovery process. As part of this process, your lawyer will be able to demand that your spouse produce certain documents, file requests for admission, inspect property, and other methods that are helpful in gleaning financial information from an uncooperative spouse.
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