Going through a divorce is a difficult chapter in life, marked by emotions, complex legal issues, and intricate financial matters. While the court will determine how your assets should be divided, some people try to circumvent the legal process by hiding money and property from their spouse and the court.
The intentional hiding of assets can significantly affect the division of property, alimony, and child support. If you find yourself questioning whether your spouse is engaging in such practices, it’s essential to know your rights, understand how people hide assets, and take steps to uncover the truth.
Here, at The Bearden Law Firm, we have decades of family law experience in Orange, TX, and we know how to recognize and address asset hiding during a divorce. Remember, your spouse is not looking out for your best interests, so it’s critical that you have someone in your corner who will fight to protect the assets you’re entitled to.
If you suspect your spouse may be hiding assets during your divorce, it can be challenging to deal with. To address the situation effectively, you must first understand the tactics people use to hide assets and what red flags to look for. Some actions are more subtle than others, so knowledge is power when ensuring a fair division of property and assets during your divorce.
Here are some common methods individuals use to conceal their assets:
1. Undervaluing or Transferring Assets: Your spouse might undervalue assets like real estate, vehicles, or artwork. This makes them appear less valuable on financial disclosures submitted to the court. They may also try transferring assets to a friend or family member, such as putting property in someone else’s name until the divorce is final. Another tactic is putting money into a secret or offshore bank account.
2. Complex Financial Transactions: Beware of intricate financial transactions, such as the creation of shell companies, offshore accounts, or the use of cryptocurrency. These can be used to hide assets from scrutiny.
3. Overstating Debts: Both assets and liabilities (debts) will be divided during your divorce. A common tactic is exaggerating debts, creating a false impression of financial hardship, and reducing the appearance of available or liquid assets.
4. Secret Accounts and Hidden Income: Secret bank accounts and unreported income are classic methods of asset concealment. These could include stashing cash income, having hidden bank accounts in other names, or underreporting income to the IRS for tax purposes.
5. Sudden Changes in Spending Habits: Significant changes in your spouse’s spending habits can indicate an attempt to hide money or reduce the amount of money they have on paper. This could include sudden large purchases or frequent smaller purchases. Sometimes, people may purchase large or expensive items to tie up money with the intent of selling the articles after the divorce is final.
Recognizing these red flags is the first step in addressing hidden assets during divorce. By being vigilant and informed, you can better protect your rights and financial interests as you navigate this challenging chapter in your life.
If you suspect your spouse is concealing assets during divorce, taking proactive steps to uncover the truth and protect your financial interests is crucial. Here’s what to do if you believe your spouse is hiding money and assets.
The first thing you should do is reach out to an experienced divorce attorney who’s skilled in asset discovery and financial investigation. They can guide you through the legal process and help you determine the best course of action to protect you and your assets.
Your attorney will make discovery requests and other legal requests to compel your spouse to provide specific and accurate financial information.
Your attorney will give you guidance related to collecting financial records, including bank statements, tax returns, investment portfolios, and property deeds. This documentation can serve as evidence of your marital assets.
Your attorney may choose to engage forensic accountants or financial experts with experience in uncovering hidden assets. They can analyze financial data, trace transactions, and detect discrepancies. Forensic accountants can also accurately assess the value of assets and provide expert testimony in court to support your case.
Your attorney should be able to assist with the investigation process and find the right experts for your case.
In some cases, deposing your spouse under oath can help reveal information about hidden assets. Your attorney can question your spouse, compelling them to disclose relevant information.
If necessary, your attorney can issue subpoenas to financial institutions, businesses, and other entities to obtain records that may reveal hidden assets.
Ensure all marital assets are accurately valued. This could involve getting appraisals for real estate, businesses, or other high-value assets. An appraisal from a neutral third party helps prevent overvaluing or undervaluing assets.
Mediation can be a valuable option for asset discovery in less contentious cases. A professional mediator will assist in reaching an agreement about assets and disclosure. Your attorney will help you decide if this is the best avenue to pursue in your particular case.
If your spouse continues to hide assets, court intervention may be necessary. The court can enforce discovery orders or impose sanctions for non-compliance to protect your financial rights.
Realizing that your spouse may be hiding assets can be a challenging and frustrating plot twist in your divorce. Still, this suspicion is one that requires vigilance and action. The consequences of asset concealment are far-reaching, affecting the division of property, financial support, and the overall fairness of the divorce.
Jim Sharon and the team at The Bearden Law Firm understand the complexities of this endeavor and are here to assist you. Uncovering hidden assets is not only about your financial well-being; it’s about securing the truth and protecting your future.
Don’t hesitate to reach out if you suspect hidden assets or need guidance in any aspect of your divorce in Orange, TX. Let’s work together to unveil the truth and safeguard your interests.
Contact us today and take a crucial step toward protecting your future.