Division of marital property: Ways assets are hidden in divorce

In a divorce, both spouses have to disclose all of their assets and earnings. This is because all marital assets are subject to division as part of the divorce. And earnings and income are necessary to determine child support and spousal support.

Marital property is defined as all assets that were acquired during the marriage, regardless of whose name is on the title or the account. Unless it was a gift or an inheritance, if it was acquired during the marriage, it is considered marital property. Unfortunately, in some cases, spouses attempt to hide assets so that they are not subject to the marital division.

Common ways people attempt to hide assets

A spouse who hides assets is attempting to undervalue assets, overstate debts, and generally receive a more favorable property division in the divorce. Common ways that a spouse may try to hide income and assets include:

  • Purchasing expensive items like art or other expensive antiques that may be overlooked during the divorce and then sold after the divorce
  • Hiding unrecorded cash in a safe deposit box
  • Underreporting income on tax returns and other financial statements
  • Overpaying the IRS, so that the money will be refunded post-divorce
  • Deferring payment and bonuses until after divorce.

These are just a few ways a spouse can attempt to hide assets and income in a divorce. There are ma ny more. If you are in the middle of a divorce or contemplating divorce it is important to educate yourself on what your rights are and how to spot the warning signs of a dishonest spouse.

Red flags to be aware of

If you suspect your spouse is hiding, or will attempt to hide assets, be cognizant of the following warning signs:

  • Your spouse has sole control of the bank accounts and passwords.
  • Your spouse receives account statements and bills at his or her work or to a PO Box.
  • Your spouse has significant unreimbursed business expenses.
  • Your spouse deletes a financial program like Quickbooks from the computer or alleges that the computer crashed and deleted all of the financial records.
  • Your spouse's business is suddenly not doing well and is earning less but his or her spending has not decreased to match the decreased income or revenue.

Property division is one of the most challenging parts of a divorce. You cannot receive an equitable division of property without knowing what the marital assets are. Additionally, you will not receive the appropriate amount of child support or spousal maintenance without an accurate representation of your spouse's income. An experienced property division attorney will investigate and uncover all assets and income to ensure a fair divorce. If you feel your spouse is hiding assets and income or will attempt to hide them, contact an experienced divorce lawyer to protect your rights.