The major issue in divorce, besides children, is the division of property. Everything acquired during the marriage is subject to division by the divorce court. This includes:
- Savings accounts
- Retirement accounts, etc.
Why Would a Spouse Want to Hide Property?
In community property states, these assets are split more or less equally, while in traditional states, they are split according to a variety of fairness factors.
Divorcing spouses will commonly try to hide assets that are due to be split, in order to retain 100% of that property.
What Happens When You Try to Hide Divorce Assets?
Hiding assets is illegal, and may constitute perjury, willful nondisclosure, or contempt of court. The judge will levy significant penalties for these crimes.
Common Practices for Hiding Assets
If a spouse owns a business, she may allow customers to defer their debts until after the divorce, or purport that business is slow when in reality it is booming. A spouse may allow real property to waste away in anticipation of a divorce. A spouse may pay too much in taxes, and then ask for a refund after the divorce.
The most common way to hide assets is to set up a secret account. To protect assets during divorce, spouses are advised to investigate any evidence of decreased funds in current accounts, other mailboxes, and suspicious financial mail.
Should I Consult an Attorney?
Divorce proceedings can be very complex. Consulting a family law attorney can help you better protect your legal right to community property.