Finding Hidden Assets in Divorce
There are several reasons why one spouse will try to hide assets from the other spouse in divorce. For example, a husband may not want to share a large bank account or a piece of real estate with his wife, or a wife many not want to share a secret bank account. Although it is not uncommon for a spouse to try to hide assets during a divorce in California, there are steps that a vigilant party can take to uncover such unethical behavior.
Signs of Hiding Assets
There are numerous ways that your spouse may try to hide assets during your divorce. You should look for any changes in the frequency or quantity of your spouse’s bank withdrawals as your spouse may be trying to hide money in small steps rather than all at once. Your spouse may also make expensive purchases right before the divorce, hoping to resell the items after the divorce.
They may also:
- Deflate income.
- Under-report revenue.
- Stash unrecorded cash.
- Transfer ownership of valuable assets to family and friends.
How To Uncover Hidden Assets
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets during your divorce, there are several actions you can take to try to reveal this fraud. You can follow your spouse or hire a private investigator and a forensic accountant who can look at your family’s finances to determine if money has been hidden. During divorce the court allows spouses to seek out information during the discovery phase. During discovery, you can send a subpoena to your spouse’s employer for employment records and bank statements.
The spouse caught hiding assets during divorce can get in serious trouble. A California family law judge may impose sanctions and give the entire share of the remaining asset to the other spouse to penalize the action of hiding assets. In some states, you can even be arrested for very serious incidences of hiding assets.
If your spouse does in fact successfully hides assets, this can have a significant effect on many aspects of your divorce including property distribution, alimony and child support. Sometimes you may not find out that your spouse hid assets until after your divorce is finalized. If this should happen, you have the option to file a motion in family court. Should this occur, contact a California family law attorney to help you reopen your divorce case and try to amend your divorce agreement and possibly sue your ex-spouse in civil court for monetary damages.