Among the many issues to address in divorce is the scrutiny of a couple’s assets and how to properly divide them. Property division often comes to the forefront, especially among couples in the upper middle class and those who are high earners.
Honesty and transparency, though, sometimes are shunned in property division matters. The hiding of significant assets by one spouse from the other is not uncommon. Some even rely on a stealth-like approach just to do their utmost in preventing their estranged spouse from splitting those assets. There are many ways to hide marital assets, too, so be aware and on the lookout.
Help from relatives, delay of pay raise
Sometimes, a spouse senses something amiss in trying to uncover assets that legally belong to both. Forged documents represent one way to hide assets, so does concealment with third parties, including friends, relatives and acquaintances.
Among the many ways a spouse hides assets include:
- Paying down a mortgage and credit card bills. This occurs in plain sight, so suspicions may not initially surface.
- Transferring funds into 401(k) accounts or pensions.
- Creating custodial accounts through your children’s identities and social security numbers.
- Transferring funds into accounts created in the names of corporate entities, friends and relatives.
- Hiding personal assets with family members and friends. Assets such as investment certificates may turn up in the home of family members or a safe deposit box owned by them.
- Paying phony debts to relatives and friends.
- Colluding with an employer to delay pay raises and job-related bonuses until the divorce.
- Paying for expenses related to extra-marital affairs. This may include gifts, rent, travel and college tuition.
Even if there are no signs of distrust, you must not leave any stone unturned if you suspect that your estranged spouse is hiding assets from you. Remember, hiding assets can be done in sneaky and no-so-sneaky ways. Be on the lookout.