Couples in different family situations will have unique challenges during their divorces. For families that enjoy higher levels of income and have complex property, there are concerns that can quickly complicate a divorce.
One of the biggest issues in a high-asset divorce is the risk of one spouse intentionally hiding assets from the other. In theory, both spouses should disclose their personal assets and financial circumstances to one another. If they litigate the major issues in their divorce, they will have to provide documentation about their circumstances to the courts as well.
Some people will intentionally hide assets to secure a more favorable outcome in the property division process. What are some of the ways one spouse could unfairly affect the rights of the other by hiding property in a high-asset divorce?
Establishing secret financial accounts
If your spouse starts a savings account that you don’t know exist, you will not be in a position to ask for your share of the funds deposited in that account during your marriage.
One of the warning signs that a spouse has a hidden account is unaccounted-for income. Going over tax and income records may make you suspect that there is money your spouse hasn’t told you about or deposited into shared accounts.
Intentionally undervaluing significant assets
Does your spouse have an extensive collection of jewelry? Although you probably don’t want to take her favorite pair of earrings in the divorce, you may want to factor in the price of the jewelry accumulated during your marriage.
Collectibles, art, real estate and other valuable assets should have an accurate price reported to the courts. Otherwise, one spouse will ultimately receive more than what they should from the marital estate.
Giving away or removing assets
Some spouses will give marital assets to their friends or acquaintances. They may do so with the intention of eventually reclaiming those assets after the divorce. Other times, they give them away just to deny their ex the right to claim that value.
Some people will instead start moving property to a storage unit or even using it to furnish a new apartment or living space with an affair partner. Finding those physical assets is crucial to a fair property division resolution.
Going over your finances, creating an accurate estimate of the value of your property and making your own list of the physical assets you acquired during the marriage can help you track down hidden assets. Understanding how your ex is hiding property could affect the outcome of the property division process can help you fight for an appropriate resolution to your divorce proceedings.