Divorce can lead to a great deal of financial uncertainty, and receiving your fair share may depend on having a comprehensive understanding of your household finances. If your spouse hides assets, you may enter the next stage of your life without the financial foundation you need.
How might a person hide assets?
California courts generally divide a divorcing couple’s property equally, but the court must be aware of that property to distribute it appropriately. In some cases, a married person may manipulate their assets so that the courts do not consider them when dividing property. The methods they use may include:
- Transferring money to a hidden, separate account
- Transferring ownership of assets to a friend or family member with the intent that they will return these assets after divorce
- Underreporting the value of cars, real estate or other valuable assets
- Hiding assets in a safe deposit box
- Keeping financial support from family members a secret
- Overpaying taxes or other bills so that they can receive a refund after the courts finalize the divorce
- Claiming that they lost an asset
When people notice their spouse acting with secrecy or think that something about their finances doesn’t add up, they can find hidden assets with experienced help. During the discovery process, a forensic accountant can reveal errors or omissions. Independent appraisals can also ensure that you know the full value of marital assets and prevent underreporting of their worth. If you suspect that your spouse has hidden assets, you also may benefit from working with an attorney with experience in navigating financially complex divorces.