Could your spouse hide assets in a divorce?

By March 15, 2012Divorce

On behalf of The Marks Law Firm, L.L.C. posted in Divorce on Thursday, March 15, 2012

One of the most difficult tasks in divorce is property division. One unethical and illegal method to discourage a fair and equitable distribution of those marital assets is for one spouse to hide assets, writes divorce financial strategist Jeff Landers for Forbes.com.

Many St. Louis couples have significant assets to divide in divorce, including such things as their residence and other real estate holdings, a business, stocks, retirement and pension plans, bank accounts, life insurance, deferred compensation and much more.

Dividing all of that can be complicated. Landers urges anyone facing the daunting task of creating a fair division of assets to make sure they take the most important step first: finding experienced professional help to get you through the process whole and financially healthy.

He said after you’ve found a good family law attorney and financial experts, then should also make sure you’re aware of some common unethical tactics spouses use to hide assets.

  • Buying expensive items that might be easily overlooked or undervalued: Landers uses a good example of a husband who purchases an expensive, antique rug for his office. That’s a pricey purchase (one that can be liquidated after a divorce) that might go unnoticed if a spouse isn’t being watchful.
  • Safe deposit box deposits: sometimes spouses hide money the old-fashioned way (in cash).
  • Overpaying the Internal Revenue Service or creditors: if a spouse overpays the IRS, they can get a full refund after the divorce is a done deal.
  • Deferring compensation: this keeps income off the books during divorce proceedings.
  • Artificial debt: this can consist of phony expenses or loans to friends or family.

If you’re worried that your spouse might be hiding assets, speak to a family law attorney about your legal options.

Source: Forbes.com: “Divorcing Women: Here’s Where Husbands Typically Hide Assets,” Jeff Landers, March 14, 2012