When you decide to re-enter a single lifestyle after years of marriage, it activates a series of changes in life and prompts the need for you to make decisions about numerous issues. For instance, if you’re a parent, you and your spouse must execute a child a custody agreement and decide what your co-parenting plan will be like as you move on in life after divorce.
It’s easier and less stressful to achieve a settlement if both sides are honest and willing to compromise and cooperate as needed. In a perfect world, all spouses who navigate divorce would be honest and amicable toward each other. In reality, a relationship might be contentious or one spouse might try to take advantage of the other in court. An example of this would be a spouse who tries to hide assets.
How would you know if your spouse were hiding assets?
In New York, the court divides marital property equitably in divorce. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all of your assets and liabilities will be split 50/50 between you and your spouse. It merely means that the judge overseeing your case will determine a fair division. A spouse who is trying to hide assets often uses one or more of the ways shown in the following list:
- Asks a friend or relative to hold onto a large sum of money
- Overpays on a credit card balance or tax returns
- Underestimates the value of artwork, jewelry or other assets
Perhaps you have a jointly owned bank account and recently discovered that money had been withdrawn. When you asked your spouse about it, he or she said they gave it to a friend or relative as repayment for a loan or to lend the person money. If that sounds suspicious to you, you may want to further investigate the situation. Overpaying on a credit card or taxes is a way to hide money because it can later be collected as a refund.
What should you do if you suspect a hidden asset problem?
A first logical step to take if you think your spouse is trying to keep you from getting all that you’re entitled to in your divorce is to ask him or her about any issue that’s causing you concern. If you simply don’t believe the answers that are provided, you can go a step further to search for hidden assets.
Some people hire private investigators to help determine if there is evidence of a hidden asset problem. It’s also a good idea to make the court aware of such issues because hiding assets in a divorce is illegal.