Are spouses hiding assets in a divorce? Yes, and frequently. Divorce has never been a pleasant process, but it is the legal approach to the dissolution of a marriage. Unfortunately, experts at Springer & Lyle have found some spouses, soon to be divorced, believe it a necessity not to follow the law and try to hide assets to avoid the sharing of them in the divorce proceedings.
Common Methods of Hiding Assets
In a divorce, the law requires that every major asset be inventoried. Bank accounts, brokerage accounts, real estate, vehicles and similar must be disclosed. Errant spouses are quite aware of this rule or are made so by their attorneys. However, the more financial savvy types, who aren’t interested in a financial split, can also try to hide value in tools that aren’t regularly tracked by banks or records. Some of the more common methods include changing money into precious metal bullion like gold coins, shifting physical assets by title to a friend to hold and “own” until the divorce is finished, or flat out moving assets out of the country and jurisdiction of the divorce court completely (i.e. foreign bank accounts).
How Assets Are Found
As difficult as hidden assets may be to locate, they can be found. First, it requires monitoring, usually through a private investigator and access to additional financial records. Second, many hints at hiding behavior require the help of an auditor or forensic accountant to see transfers and expenditure signaling movement to off-record assets. And finally, an attorney who understands how to convince the court to order seizure with the right evidence is essential when the assets are finally found. It can take months maybe even a few years after the initial divorce to full conclude seizure, but it can be done even when the money is offshore in another country. The big hammer is that once the court is convinced fraud has occurred in court filings, the court can order all of the hidden assets be turned over to the innocent spouse.
Getting the Right Help
Keep in mind, however, not every attorney knows how to go about finding hidden assets in a divorce. It’s a common assumption that people will just report their assets in proceedings. However, that assumption doesn’t accurately reflect how often people think they can outsmart the system. Good divorce attorneys with deep experience know this fact and also know the right tools to use to effectively recover assets due to their client in a divorce. To find out more about how these protections can be put to effect in your pending divorce, give our family law attorneys at Springer & Lyle a call at 940-387-0404.