Divorce involves not just the formal end of your marriage but also the structured division of your shared property. You and your ex will need to either negotiate or ask a judge to divide your property. Whichever approach you utilize, you obviously expect a fair and reasonable outcome to the property division process.
If your spouse engages in certain misconduct, they could deprive you of a fair divorce outcome. Hiding assets is a common way that someone angry about an impending divorce manipulates the system for their personal benefit. How do people hide assets from their spouse and the courts during divorce proceedings?
They open a secret bank account
Maybe your spouse is the primary wage earner for your family, and you only see what they deposit in the bank account every week when they get paid. Your spouse could receive a raise or put in extra work to increase what they make while not telling you about that. They might then divert those extra funds to a secret bank account.
One spouse could also make small, seemingly minor withdrawals from a shared account week after week, ultimately resulting in thousands of dollars in cash that they don’t intend to share with their spouse.
They move or hide physical property
When someone knows a divorce is imminent, they may start making plans before talking with their spouse or ever going to court. Your spouse could rent a storage unit or an apartment and start moving some of your valuable shared property into that private space.
Jewelry, furniture, collectibles and other marital assets can disappear, thus depriving you of your right to claim a share of their value in the divorce proceedings.
They undervalue their personal property
Another sneaky way for your ex to avoid sharing what they should with you in the divorce is for them to claim that their vintage collection of classic records is only worth $1,000 when you know they have individual records that could fetch that price at auction. They could have a friend perform an appraisal of investment properties to claim that they are worth far less than they would actually cost on the current market.
The only way for you to ensure that the outcome of your divorce is fair is for you to locate and properly value those hidden assets. You may need to talk with your attorney about your suspicions or even bring in a financial professional to evaluate household records and determine what, if any, assets your spouse has hidden. Identifying and planning for common pitfalls in high-asset divorces will help you achieve the best outcome in your case.