Hiding Assets & Income in a Divorce: Ways It Happens
During a divorce, the spouse with a greater income or higher net worth may be tempted to hide property or income as a way of preventing the other spouse from gaining an equitable division of the property, or in an effort to keep child support or alimony payments as low as possible. If live in Sarasota, Bradenton, Venice, Sarasota County, or Manatee County, and believe your spouse is hiding assets in preparation for a divorce, you should consult a Sarasota divorce lawyer Matthew Martell as soon as possible.
Ways Money or Property Can Be Hidden
Hiding money during divorce is a regrettably tactic. There are several different ways a spouse can hide money or property.
- Create a new bank account. There are several different methods that a spouse might use to create a new account to hide money. A spouse could open a new account in a different financial institution, whether in Florida or another state. The spouse could also open the account in the name of a new boyfriend or girlfriend, thus creating a layer of secrecy. An account could also be opened in the name of a minor child, although such accounts might be easier to discover.
- Purchase a new asset. Several different kinds of assets are both liquid, and easy to hide. Automobiles and boats have registration papers, but both have the advantage of being easily moved. Gold, silver, crypto-currency, coins, and jewelry are more easily hidden and come with no registration.
- Incur new debts or make new loans. Money could be lent to friends or family as a way of moving it out of the immediate reach of the other spouse and the divorce court. Similarly, artificially inflated “debts” could be arranged with friends and family members, as a way of showing a lower net worth for the spouse hiding assets. A spouse might also simply transfer property to friends and family to hold until the divorce is over.
- Manipulate the profit or loss of a business. A business could acquire property, equipment, or inventory using marital assets. Similarly, the business could hire fake employees, paying them a salary, which would then be recovered after the divorce is finalized. Friends could be brought on as fake contractors, with invoices, which would be paid out of marital assets. The contracts could then be voided or reversed after the divorce.
Finding hidden assets is a task that requires the attention both of the spouse and a team of professionals. If you believe that assets have been hidden, in preparation for or during a divorce, look for any evidence of abnormal financial activity.
- Have account statements stopped coming in the mail or via email?
- Have new account statements addressed only to the other spouse appeared?
- Has the spouse changed the amount of income received, by deferring salary or spending more money?
- Has the spouse changed bill paying habits, perhaps by overpaying bills?
- Has the spouse’s business changed, perhaps doing less business, or paying out more to employees or contractors?
In addition to a careful search for any documents relating to the spouse’s finances, a good divorce attorney will have accounting experts available, both to examine evidence such as tax returns, and to attempt to trace any missing assets.
For over twenty years, the Law Offices of Matthew Z. Martell have handled divorces including cases to recover hidden assets for spouses. We offer a full range of divorce services, and are prepared to fight for our clients. We know that divorce is an emotional, difficult situation for both parties, and we treat our clients with compassion and respect. If you require the assistance of one of the best Sarasota divorce attorneys, then Matthew Z. Martell call today and schedule a 30 minute free initial phone consultation.