The division of assets in divorce remains one of the testier topics that separating couples must address. The what’s-mine-is-yours philosophy during the marriage may fall by wayside, and parting spouses suddenly transform into possessive individuals ready to fight vigorously and vociferously.
But in any divorce situation regarding the subject of the division of assets, do not discount scheming and duplicitous behavior. Hiding assets so the other spouse cannot secure their rightful share sometimes remains an issue. And this behavior may have been going on for years.
Relatives, employers and questionable accounts
An untruthful spouse may resort to certain tactics to hide assets. They may include:
- Turning to relatives and friends: This group of people understands its loyalties, and those loyalties are not to you. They willingly help your estranged spouse by hiding assets such as cash, savings bonds and investment certificates. Relatives and friends also may accept “gifts,” which really are not gifts. Your spouse also may create fake debt, repaying on non-existent loans.
- Help from an employer: It is not unheard of for some to cut backroom deals with employers. For example, an employer will delay a significant raise, commission or bonus until the divorce agreement is finalized.
- Making tax overpayments: Your spouse did not absent-mindedly overpay the IRS on the recent tax bill. He or she counted on getting the money in a refund with the conclusion of the divorce.
- Opening custodial accounts in children’s names: Using their children’s Social Security numbers, some people will create accounts and hide money in them.
- Creating new financial accounts: These could be bank, mutual fund and stock investment accounts in the names of friends, relatives and corporations. The suspicious transfer of assets into these accounts is another surreptitious method to hide assets.
- Purchasing items that may get undervalued: Maybe your spouse has been on a gradual or sudden buying binge of items such as antiques, artwork, jewelry, firearms, coins and sport memorabilia. These are investments one should not overlook.
It takes a keen and suspicious eye to track down hidden assets. With the right knowledge and guidance, you can succeed.
Uncovering these assets
A divorce may bring out the worst behavior in some people. And that includes financial behavior. You need allies to help you uncover these stashed-away assets no longer within your immediate reach. Seek assistance from a team that includes a skilled attorney and forensic accountant.