Could Your Spouse Be Hiding Assets?
It is an unfortunate reality of modern life that spouses often find it difficult to be completely honest with each other, particularly in matters pertaining to money. For some couples, it may be motivated by fear of embarrassment, as one spouse may not be especially proud of decisions that he or she has made. For others, however, the motivation may be more selfish, as a spouse insists on keeping a portion of his or her assets hidden from the other partner, so as to retain them for his or her own personal benefit.
Hiding assets during a marriage is seen by many as a form of infidelity, which can have a detrimental impact to the marital relationship. When such actions or intentions are discovered, the trust level between partners may be severely damaged, often leading to divorce. Continuing to hide assets during divorce, however, can be even more serious, as doing so constitutes a violation of the law.
Common Methods of Hiding Assets
A spouse may hide assets in divorce to manipulate the financial outcome in his or her favor. Understating income and asset values can directly impact the division of property, spousal support, and even child support determinations. Hiding assets can be done in a variety of ways, but common methods often include:
- Undervalued Purchases: The new rug in his office or her new painting on the wall in the hallway may have cost substantially more than you may realize;
- Delayed Bonuses: Requiring the cooperation of an employer, salary, bonuses, or stock options may be deferred until after the divorce is finalized to avoid being considered. Postponing a promotion may also be of possible concern;
- Repayment of a Nonexistent Loan: Payments made to friends or relative to pay off a “loan” that you do not recall or for services you do not remember them providing may be another way to temporarily move assets out of your spouse’s name. Such payments are likely to be returned after the divorce; and
- Unreported Income: Is your spouse living beyond the means that should be possible with your family’s income? He or she may have an alternate stream of income, often in cash, that was no reported on tax returns or other financial documents.
A spouse determined to hide assets may do so in ways ranging from extremely creative, such as complex investments or payment schemes, to very simple, such as a literal shoebox full of cash under the bed. However it may be accomplished, a qualified legal professional can help you uncover hidden assets and present them to the court. In some cases, the court may even allocate up to the full value of such property to you as a punitive measure against your spouse.
If you are going through a divorce and believe that your spouse may be hiding assets, contact an experienced Kane County divorce attorney today. We have worked with many clients in similar situations and are prepared to help you achieve the outcome you deserve. Call our office to schedule an evaluation of your case and put our team to work for you.