Uncovering assets during a divorce requires legal and financial expertise
People often assume that in marriage there are few secrets kept between spouses, but that attitude often leads to unpleasant surprises during divorce. According to Forbes, nearly two-thirds of all spouses admit they have hid money or other assets from their spouses. It should therefore come as no surprise that hidden assets are far more common during divorce than many people would like to admit. Hiding assets can lead to an unfair division of marital property and anybody who suspects their former spouse is hiding assets should reach out to a qualified legal professional right away.
Hiding assets common in marriage
While most cases of financial infidelity in marriage relate to relatively minor offenses, such as those guilty impulse purchases, some spouses do attempt to hide much larger assets. In high-asset marriages, especially, there are more opportunities to keep property and assets hidden from a spouse because the couple’s financial situation tends to be more complex. In some cases, people have even tried to hide businesses, offshore accounts, or second homes from their spouses.
Full financial disclosure is important during divorce to ensure that marital property can be divided fairly between both spouses. Trying to conceal assets from a court is illegal and judges do not look kindly on a party that tries to mislead them. If such financial impropriety is uncovered, then the offending party risks fines or even jail time. In many cases, a judge will award the other spouse the full amount of the assets that were hidden from them.
Uncovering assets can be difficult
As the Huffington Post recently reported, the prevalence of technology nowadays means that people who try to hide assets are more likely to leave behind electronic clues. People who suspect their spouse is hiding assets should look at the family computer for indications that their husband or wife is behaving improperly. For example, the web browser history may indicate visits to an unfamiliar bank website or financial spreadsheets may begin mysteriously disappearing from the family computer.
Suspicions alone are not enough to accuse a former spouse of financial impropriety, however. Even if a spouse does find evidence of hidden assets, a court may not allow the evidence to be admitted if it was gathered in a way that violated the offending spouse”s privacy rights. As such, it is extremely important that people take their suspicions to a family law attorney. While many attorneys claim to be able to uncover hidden assets, people should only rely on an attorney who actually has the proper qualifications and a proven history of being able to uncover hidden assets in a divorce.
Hiding assets is, after all, a very serious accusation and in many cases may amount to fraud. Such serious accusations need to be left to qualified legal professionals. An experienced family law attorney can help any spouse who suspects they may be the victim of financial impropriety ensure their right to a fair division of marital property is respected during a divorce.