Aside from child custody, asset division is arguably the most contentious issue couples face during divorce. Unfortunately, some spouses attempt to gain the upper hand in this issue by hiding assets before or during a divorce to avoid sharing them with their soon-to-be ex-spouse. Hiding assets during divorce is sly, unethical, and downright illegal – but it happens far more frequently that many people think. Fortunately, you can reduce the chances of this happening by being fully aware of some of the most common unethical practices used.
Commonly used strategies include:
- Purchasing items which are easily overlooked: A common way spouses hide assets is by secretly making purchases which can be easily ignored, such as additions to art collections or expensive antiques.
- Stashing cash in a secret hiding place: Since transferring money to a separate savings account can leave a paper trail, spouses may sometimes withdraw large amounts of cash and hide it in a secret location, such as a safe deposit box or some other secluded location.
- Underreporting income: Any income that is not accounted for on tax returns or financial statements cannot be used in a financial analysis, and therefore cannot be divided.
- Overpaying the IRS: A particularly sneaky way to hide money is to intentionally pay more than necessary to either the IRS or a creditor. Once the divorce is finalized, they will be able to receive a refund.
- Deferring salaries or commissions: To keep money “off the books” during divorce, spouses may sometimes elect to defer receiving payment, bonuses, or salaries until after their divorce is completed.
- Fake debt: Spouses may sometimes collude with friends or family members to create fake loans or expenses and periodically make payments, knowing full well that they will receive all of their funds back after the divorce.
- Transferring stocks: Spouses sometimes attempt to guard their stocks and investment accounts by transferring them to family members, business partners, or fake companies, only to transfer them back at a later date.
- Setting up a custodial account: Spouses sometimes create custodial accounts in the name of a child or a new significant other, using their social security number. This can make it very difficult to locate the account.
While these are some of the most common methods, people are continuously finding more and more clever ways to cheat their spouses out of their entitled marital assets. Ultimately, the best way to protect yourself is to retain the services of a knowledgeable attorney.
Guard Your Assets with Hedayati Law Group, P.C.
At Hedayati Law Group, our Long Island divorce lawyers have been representing the interests of divorcing spouses for more than 100 years combined. With a team approach and an unshakable dedication to preserving your wellbeing, we can provide the strong guidance and legal resources you need help you secure your entitled fair share of your marital estate.
Contact us today to review your legal options in full detail.