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Los Gatos divorce lawyer for hidden assetsThe divorce process can be very complicated, and it requires spouses to navigate a variety of legal and financial issues as they work to dissolve their marriage. While you are dealing with the stress of separating your life from your spouse, the emotional trauma that comes with the end of a long-term relationship, and the fallout from contentious disputes over child custody and other issues, it can be easy to neglect what seem like the smaller details of a divorce. However, it is also important to protect your rights, and if you are worried that your ex is attempting to hide assets and unfairly influence the financial decisions in your divorce, you will want to understand your legal options.

Addressing Concerns About Hidden Assets

California is a community property state, which means that divorcing couples are required to divide marital property equally. However, some spouses may try to hide assets to avoid having to divide certain pieces of property. A spouse may do this in an attempt to punish their spouse because they blame them for the end of the marriage, or they may believe that they are entitled to a greater share of assets based on the income they earn or their contributions to the relationship.

Regardless of the reasons for hiding assets, doing so is illegal, and a spouse could face penalties if these activities are discovered during the divorce process. A spouse may be required to pay fines or cover the other spouse’s attorney’s fees in legal proceedings related to concealed assets. In some cases, a spouse may even forfeit the rights to a concealed asset, resulting in the other spouse receiving a greater share of the marital estate.

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Los Gatos divorce attorney for hidden assetsIn the state of California, the divorce process is governed through the California Family Code. When it comes to the assets owned by divorcing spouses, Family Code Section 2100 states that both parties must present an accurate and honest statement of their assets and liabilities. This disclosure should be completed during the early stages of a divorce, and all assets owned by the spouses should be included, regardless of whether they are community property or separate property. Unfortunately, many divorcing spouses attempt to leave certain assets out of this disclosure in order to avoid including these assets in the property division process. If you are getting divorced, you should be aware of some of the most common types of hidden assets and the steps you can take if you believe your spouse is withholding assets during the divorce process. 

Common Methods of Hiding Assets 

In some cases, a spouse may make an oversight or error and accidentally fail to disclose property. However, there are many cases in which one party will attempt to conceal certain types of property to avoid having to divide or share these assets with their former partner. A divorcing spouse may hide assets by withdrawing money from marital accounts and depositing it in a secret account or transferring it to a friend or family member with the intent of reclaiming it after the divorce is complete. Spouses may also provide incorrect or fabricated information on income or asset disclosures, or they may purchase valuables, collectibles, real estate property, or other assets without informing the other spouse.

Addressing Hidden Assets

If you suspect that there are certain assets that your spouse has not disclosed during the divorce process, you have a number of options. In some cases, you may be able to resolve these issues by discussing them with your spouse. If your divorce has been amicable and respectful, your spouse may have simply made a mistake when they failed to disclose the asset in question. 

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Los Gatos, CA divorce attorney for hidden assetsGetting a divorce can be a challenging time in your life. The process of permanently separating from your spouse is difficult enough, but addressing complex matters related to marital assets and child custody can make things even more grueling. While many divorces can be resolved amicably (including through divorce mediation), some spouses will look to do anything and everything they can to spite their former partner during divorce proceedings. One of the most common forms of foul play that can occur during divorce is hiding assets. If you believe that your spouse is attempting to conceal marital property, you will want to work with a family law attorney to determine your options. 

What Are Hidden Assets? 

In the state of California, all assets owned by a married couple are considered community property. In other words, any property accumulated during a marriage belongs to both spouses, barring a prenuptial agreement that states otherwise. If a spouse attempts to devalue an asset or conceal property from their spouse and the court, this is known as hiding assets. 

Hidden assets can come in various forms, but they are rarely as simple as concealing a physical item in a place where the other spouse cannot find it. Some of the most common forms of hidden assets include intentionally avoiding reporting income through tax returns or financial statements, setting up a secret bank account (which may be done through the use of a child’s social security number), or requesting that an employer delay paying wages and bonuses until after the divorce process is finalized. 

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Los Gatos, CA divorce lawyer for hidden assets or income

Coming to the conclusion that your marriage has broken down beyond repair can be a difficult truth to address. However, once you have decided that ending your marriage is the best decision for you and your family, it is time to begin preparing for the divorce process. Planning for your post-divorce life is especially important, since it will help you ensure that you can have a healthy financial future. However, in some cases, when a person knows or suspects that divorce is imminent, they may begin to hide assets from their spouse. This may be done as a way to avoid dividing property during the divorce or out of a desire to hurt one’s former partner. Whatever the reason, it is not only unfair to the other spouse, but it is illegal. If you suspect that your spouse is attempting to hide assets or income, you should speak with a knowledgeable divorce attorney as soon as possible. 

How Assets are Hidden

There are a number of ways a person may attempt to conceal marital assets from their spouse. One of the most common methods of doing so is by opening a secret bank account and withdrawing money from marital accounts. A person may also transfer money to another party to hold on to until the divorce is finalized, and they may claim that these transfers are being made to pay a person back for debts that never actually existed. A spouse may also secretly purchase assets such as valuables, collectibles, or real estate, or they may lie about the income they earn in hopes of reducing any child support or spousal support they would be required to pay following divorce. 

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California divorce laws, California divorce lawyerDivorce is intimidating to many clients. Adding unfamiliar terms and experts to the mix makes the experience more overwhelming. At the suggested use of a forensic accountant, a look of bewilderment creeps across many clients faces. Often their minds wander to the multitude of criminal investigation shows in which a homicide is under investigation. When discussing divorce and property division, why would forensics need to be involved? A forensic accountant has a very different job description, one that can be beneficial to even the most complex divorce cases.

What Is a Forensic Accountant?

A forensic accountant is a highly skilled professional who is utilized in divorce and property division cases. Not only are they educated and proven in an accounting capacity, but they are also able to apply these techniques and concepts to a legal investigation. In this context, forensic just means, “suitable for use in a court of law.” These accountants can analyze financial data and all related transactions then translate the information into an applicable context for the case at hand. They are uniquely capable of:

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