How to Tell If Your Ex-Spouse is Hiding Assets

How to Know When Your Spouse is Hiding Assets

Nest EggOne of the most difficult issues to address in a divorce is the division of assets. Unfortunately, before and during the divorce process, parties may engage in activities designed to unfairly improve their portion of the marital property settlement. There are many ways a marital partner can try to cheat a spouse out of the equitable distribution of property. Here are some of some of the common red flags indicating that your spouse may be hiding assets or attempting to get more than his or her fair share.

  • Your spouse creates a separate account—Your spouse may set up bank, investment and other accounts in his or her name only, in the name of a business, or in a trust. You may even be aware of those accounts, and have separate accounts of your own. Once a divorce is filed, though, you need your ex to produce official records for all accounts into which any funds have been deposited.
  • Defer bonuses, raises or other compensation—If your spouse owns his or her own business, the easiest way to hide assets is to leave money in the business—take no salary until the divorce is final. If your spouse is friendly with his or her boss, he/she may ask for a deferral of any raise or bonus until the divorce is finalized. If your ex works on a commission basis, he or she can agree to accrue commissions until the divorce is over.
  • Transfer assets to a third party—This can be done with the agreement that everything will be returned when the divorce is over.
  • Delay invoicing—If your spouse owns a business, he or she can do work, but decline to send invoices out until the divorce is final.
  • Make major business purchases—One of the ways a business owner can diminish assets available for division is to spend them. Beware if your ex has remodeled a facility, moved into a new building, purchased new machines or upgraded technology.
  • Fabricated expenses—Your ex may simply make up personal or business expenses. Your attorney will want to scrutinize all business and personal expenses before and during the divorce.
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