Some people think that money solves every problem, but money can be the source of plenty of issues. Those in high-asset marriages will likely have to deal with substantially more conflict in their divorce than a couple living paycheck-to-paycheck with few assets to speak of.
Not only do you have to fight with your ex over more items, but you also have to question whether hidden assets could play a role in your divorce proceedings. People can go to extreme lengths to tilt divorce proceedings in their favor.
The greater the overall value of your marital estate, the more incentive your ex has to try to hide assets from you. Learning some of the common ways that people hide assets can help you determine if this issue might affect your divorce.
Some people pretend hidden assets don’t exist
Secret bank accounts or sneaky stockpiles of cash are common examples of assets that couples will hide and claim do not exist. It can be difficult to determine if your ex has engaged in questionable financial practices toward the end of your marriage, which is why many people bring in forensic accountants to review income and tax documentation for gaps and indications of potential secret accounts.
Some people sell or give away valuable assets
If your spouse has given household possessions as gifts to their friends, family or even co-workers, the goal may be to diminish the value of your marital estate. Some people will claim to have sold a valuable possession to someone else, but the sale price will be far less than what would be reasonable for such an item. They purchase it back from their friend or acquaintance after the divorce to avoid sharing the true value of the asset with you.
If you can prove that your spouse intentionally diminished the value of your marital estate, you may be able to claim dissipation and hold them accountable for those amounts that they squandered.
Some spouses hide value in plain sight
Does your partner have a large collection of antique watches or a horde of beautiful jewelry? You may not have any desire to retain the specific assets they’ve acquired either as gifts or as purchases during the marriage, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t determine the value of those assets and include them in your inventory prior to a high-asset divorce.
Some spouses will create debt to offset the value of the estate
Just like someone can give away assets to diminish the value of the marital estate, so too can one spouse rack up substantial debt as a means of obfuscating the true financial situation for the courts. If your ex has accumulated substantial debt immediately prior to the divorce, you may be able to have the courts hold them solely accountable for that debt. Such a tactic could also be a strong indicator that a closer review of your finances, potentially by a professional, could be in your best interest.