Is Your Spouse Hiding Assets In The Divorce?

Posted on: 9 May 2016

Divorces can quickly turn into nasty affairs when one spouse suspects that the other is hiding assets from him or her. Hiding assets can have serious consequences for the guilty spouse if the deception is discovered by the court. If you believe that your spouse is hiding assets, here is what you need to know. 

What Penalties Can Your Spouse Face?

Your spouse could be hiding assets for a number of reasons, but he or she is most likely doing so to avoid sharing those assets with you. Unfortunately for him or her, hiding the assets could have the opposite effect. 

If the assets are discovered by you or the court, the judge could opt to impose monetary sanctions on your spouse. The judge has the discretion to decide how much more your spouse has to pay. If you are owed child or alimony support, the judge could even rule that your spouse has to pay a higher rate than he or she was planning to order. 

In some states, the actions of your spouse could be seen as fraud. A fraud allegation can quickly lead to a criminal charge. 

What Can You Do?

Your divorce attorney will most likely hire a forensic accountant to review your spouse's financial records for signs of hidden assets. However, you can start searching for them from day one. There are certain indicators in the records that might lead you to the assets. 

One place to look is your spouse's pay statements from his or her employer. If your spouse normally has bonuses or compensation on his or her statements, but there is no sign of them on recent statements, he or she could be hiding money. It is possible that your spouse requested that the employer hold onto the funds. If he or she waits to receive the payments until after the divorce, your spouse does not have to share them.

You should also look for accounts connected to your child's Social Security number. Some spouses hide funds in custodial accounts with the children's names on them. The amount your spouse can contribute to the accounts is unlimited. The funds in the accounts usually cannot be touched until the child reaches 18. At that time, your spouse could find a way to collect the money without splitting any with you. Your child could even be cut out of the funds. 

If you believe that there are assets missing from your household, consult with your divorce lawyer. He or she can help investigate and hire experts, if necessary.