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How do spouses hide assets in divorce?

During divorce, all of a couple’s assets and debts must be fairly divided. Unfortunately, some spouses decide that they want to prevent certain assets from being fairly divided. They may try to accomplish this by hiding certain assets.

Hiding assets is dishonest and illegal. Although it is not a problem in all divorces, it does happen. Fortunately, there are ways the other spouse and his or her divorce team can shed light on the truth.

Understanding how spouses usually try to hide assets can help someone remain vigilant for suspicious behavior that may indicate there has been dishonest activities. Knowing common hiding places and relevant legal tools can help someone find hidden assets, if they exist.

Four ways spouses try to hide assets

If you suspect your spouse has hidden assets, it may be a relief to learn that most people who hide assets do so in one of only four ways. They may deny that the asset exists, transfer the asset to a third party, claim they lost the asset or create fake debt.

As you and your divorce team comb through your family’s financial records, follow the money and be on the lookout for anything that could indicate assets were hidden with one of those four methods.

Common hiding places

There can be a variety of places that spouses may try to stash money. Some of the most common places spouses hide assets, include:

  • Purchased items that can be easily undervalued
  • Delayed bonuses or raises
  • Custodial accounts
  • Overpayments
  • Payments for the expenses of a new romantic interest

If you believe that your spouse has hidden assets, it is important to share that information with your divorce team right away. Your divorce team may be able to help you find the hidden assets faster and provide advice that is specific to your unique situation.

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