Assets accumulated during a marriage are considered co-owned and by state law, should be distributed equitably between both spouses. This can be achieved by the spouses choosing who gets which assets, or a judge can decide if the divorcing couple cannot find a way to agree on how to divide their property.
To prevent the assets from being shared, one of the spouses may try to hide or conceal joint assets that actually belong to both spouses. There are various methods for doing so, making it difficult — although still possible — to find purposely hidden assets. Here’s what to understand.
Hiding Assets In a Divorce
To keep assets hidden and prevent them from being dispersed evenly, one spouse may:
- Pay money on a fictitious debt to someone else with the agreement that the individual will repay the spouse once the divorce is over.
- Request that their supervisor defer any bonuses or merit raises until after the finalization of the divorce so their income isn’t as high
- Purchase money orders or traveler’s checks with joint funds that can be later cashed
- Open a new bank account to keep their money, typically with a different name, so the court can’t monitor it
- Set up a second retirement fund that their spouse is unaware of
Can You Protect Your Family From the Damages of Hidden Assets?
Before you formally file for a divorce, start saving copies of bank records and other important financial papers, like W-2’s, tax returns, and checking account statements to protect yourself from potential asset loss. You can also protect your share of marital funds by opening a new bank account in your own name. This makes your account inaccessible to your ex, keeping them from trying to take your half of the marital assets.
How to Find Concealed Assets
Finding hidden assets without the assistance of a professional might be difficult or even impossible. A family law attorney may need to request a court to order each spouse to produce detailed financial information, which typically exposes hidden assets. A forensic accountant or a private detective may also be recruited to help locate concealed assets and assess their value.
Get Help From a Tampa, FL Divorce Attorney Now For Best Results
At Bucholz Family Law, we understand that divorce is already difficult when you’re not dealing with your spouse potentially concealing assets from you. If they are, things can become exponentially more challenging. Don’t hesitate to get the legal assistance you need to protect your future and your rights by calling a Tampa, Florida divorce lawyer. Contact us now by dialing (813) 902-9100.