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What if I Suspect That My Spouse Is Hiding Assets During Our Divorce?

Posted on in Divorce

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.

If you believe that your spouse is attempting to hide assets from you, you can uncover this wrongdoing by doing the following:

  • Obtain financial documents - You should get as much information as possible about your family’s finances, including statements from joint bank accounts and credit cards, documentation of mortgages and other loans, tax returns, and records related to investments or retirement savings. Your spouse may have made withdrawals from accounts in hopes of hiding cash, they may have made large purchases in hopes of keeping certain items, or they may have transferred money to friends or family members to hold until the divorce is complete.

  • Review disclosures - Spouses are required to provide each other with a preliminary declaration of disclosure that identifies all of their assets and debts, including community property and separate assets. A final disclosure must also be provided listing all income and expenses and tax returns for the previous two years. You can examine these disclosures to determine whether any information is missing or whether there are any discrepancies that may indicate that your spouse is concealing assets.

  • Review business records - A family-owned business can often be used to conceal assets. In some cases, a spouse may misreport the income they earn from a business to avoid sharing money with their former partner, or they may pay a salary to a nonexistent employee to funnel money into a hidden account. Assets may also be hidden by paying off false business debts or making fraudulent purchases.

  • Work with a forensic accountant - Because financial records can be complicated, a person who is trained and experienced in reviewing this information can help uncover any illegal activities by your spouse and ensure that all assets and income are properly considered during the divorce process.

Contact Our Los Gatos, CA Property Division Lawyer

If you are concerned about hidden assets, our Los Gatos divorce attorney can work with you to uncover any attempts by your spouse to unfairly influence the property division process. We will provide you with high-quality legal representation as you work to end your marriage, and we will fight to protect your rights and financial interests. Contact us today at 408-395-8822 to arrange your free consultation.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/catherineschnaubelt/2019/03/08/finding-hidden-assets-in-a-divorce/?sh=215249436fd1

https://www.wife.org/ss-hiddenassets.htm

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