What Are Some of the Most Common Ways Divorcing Spouses Hide Assets?
Divorce is not only a romantic separation; it is also a financial separation. Determining how assets and debts should be distributed to divorcing spouses is often one of the most complicated parts of the divorce process. Division of assets is made even more problematic when a spouse is not willing to be transparent about his or her financial circumstances. Spouses may attempt to conceal assets, understate income, overstate debts, or use other strategies to gain an unfair advantage during property division. If you are planning to divorce and you have reason to believe that your spouse may be hiding assets or otherwise lying about financial resources, an experienced divorce lawyer can help.
Financial Deception During Divorce
In order for a divorcing couple to fairly divide marital assets during divorce, each spouse must be honest and forthcoming about his or her financial resources. However, some spouses purposely lie about their financial circumstances in an attempt to manipulate property division, child support, or spousal maintenance determinations. Typically, the more complicated a spouse’s financial circumstances are, the easier it is for him or her to hide assets during divorce. If a person owns multiple bank and brokerage accounts, trusts, rental properties, vacation homes, stock options, deferred compensation, retirement plans, a business or professional practice, or other complex assets, there are many opportunities for him or her to be deceptive. However, spouses with simple financial portfolios may also lie in order to gain a financial advantage during divorce.
A spouse who is attempting to sway the divorce settlement through hiding assets may fail to report assets or revenue streams, claim that certain assets were lost, or transfer assets to a third party. He or she may:
- Underreport income on tax returns
- Purchase expensive items and then undervalue or “forget” about these items
- Transfer stock to friends or business partners
- Transfer personal assets to a “dummy” company, or a company that exists only on paper
- Withdraw cash and hide it somewhere or “loan” cash to friends and family members
- Intentionally overpay the Internal Revenue Service so that money is hidden during divorce and then refunded after the divorce is finalized
- Postpone salary increases, new contracts, bonuses, or commissions until after the divorce
These are only some of the ways that a spouse may hide assets during divorce. Hiding assets is not only unethical, but it is also against the law. If a divorcing spouse is caught hiding assets, the court has the authority to assign a greater share of the marital assets to the innocent spouse. The spouse who hid assets may also face steep fines and other serious consequences.
Contact a St. Charles Hidden Assets Lawyer
If you believe that your spouse may lie about financial resources during divorce, you need an attorney who can help you uncover the truth. At Shaw Family Law, our experienced Illinois divorce attorneys collaborate with forensic accountants and other financial experts to expose financial deception and get clients the divorce settlement they deserve. To learn more about how we can help you, call our office at 630-584-5550 today and schedule a free, confidential consultation.