Most couples going through divorce are simply hoping for a fair separation. In some cases, unfortunately, one party may resort to deception in the hopes of scurrying away with as much property as possible.
This mindset may lead them to illegally hide valuable assets from their partner, the lawyers and the courts. By doing so, it skews what will be viewed as fair and allows them to keep more than their rightful share.
Examples of assets a spouse may hide
There are many types of assets a spouse may try to keep in the shadows. However, there are some common items and strategies many individuals turn to. This can include:
- The value of collectors’ items (such as artwork, antiques, or hobby-related products)
- A bonus, stock option or raise that is intentionally delayed until after the divorce
- Money hidden in an account that was created under a child’s name
- Fake business payments, such as to a nonexistent employee or for services never rendered
- Money lent to a friend, with plans to have it returned after the divorce
- Money spent on an extramarital partner
- Funds in secret bank accounts
- Unreported income
Hiding assets is illegal – and punishable
A partner who tries to conceal assets is hoping to come out ahead, at the expense of their soon-to-be former spouse. But doing so is illegal, and getting caught can result in stiff penalties.
A judge could choose to award hidden assets to the neglected spouse, or require the offender to pay for certain legal costs incurred by their partner. In certain cases, perjury or fraud charges might also come into play.
Property division isn’t about punishing either spouse. It’s there to ensure marital assets are divided evenly between two people. When one of them resorts to deception, it’s important to make sure someone has your best interests in mind.