Let us say you are reviewing financial and legal records while in the middle of a divorce process and find that some numbers do not add up. “Is my soon-to-be ex-spouse hiding assets from me?” – is a question that might pop up in your mind. You might feel a mix of emotions over the situation. However, before acting on your emotions, it is best to understand first what hidden assets are, how they can affect the divorce and what next steps you should take.
Possible evidence of hidden assets
At times, proof of concealed assets is in plain sight. Public records can show any undisclosed real estate a spouse may have, while financial records may lead to discovering unreported income. Some acts of concealment might not be as easy to track, such as transferring funds to new bank accounts under a relative or a friend’s name or moving funds to a foreign account.
Social media can also be a great tool for uncovering hidden assets. If a spouse posts about new purchases or extravagant vacations, it may point to possible marital financial fraud.
Consequences for hiding assets
The courts can consider hiding assets as nondisclosure or misrepresentation of assets and can affect their discretion. For one, the court may favor distributing more of the marital assets to the other spouse. In other cases, the court awards the victimized spouse all of the hidden assets. Moreover, the court may consider this misbehavior when deciding on child custody.
It is also good to note that the court orders spouses to declare their financial assets under oath in a divorce settlement. If a spouse makes false statements to hide assets, the state attorney may criminally charge them with perjury.
What to do next?
If you think your spouse has been hiding assets from you, it is best to legally gather all necessary evidence so you can preparedly submit them to court. While not mandatory, some victims of hidden assets seek assistance from forensic accountants and professionals to assess the evidence properly.