Dividing the assets that you and your spouse purchased is a major part of getting divorced; for those who are not parents, it is often the main consideration. Unfortunately, not all spouses want to fairly split their assets according to state law. To keep them from their ex, they may hide them and then misreport what they own to the court. This is prohibited in divorce cases, but people still do it because they hope that their spouse won’t notice and it will never come to light.
Common ways people hide assets
If you’re worried that this may happen to you, it’s important to look into the common ways that assets get hidden as a marriage ends so that you know where to look to uncover them. Here are a few key examples:
- Setting physical cash aside in an undisclosed location. Your spouse could start getting cash back when making purchases, for instance, hoping you just see the overall bills and do not realize they kept some of the money aside. They can then put that money in a new bank account or a safe deposit box.
- Giving the money to someone they trust to give it back. They may have all sorts of excuses for the transfer, such as saying it’s a business loan, a gift or payment for a past loan. The real goal is to wait until the divorce is over and then get the money back, thereby keeping 100% of it.
- Overpaying their bills. If they overpay a credit card company or the IRS, they may get the money back in check form at a later date. This could take until after the divorce. As long as the financial institution is holding their money temporarily, they can hide it while disclosing the assets they still have — but they get the money back later.
These are just three common tactics, but they give you an idea of what goals your spouse may have and how they can work toward them. If those goals violate your rights, though, you need to know what legal steps to take.