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Barbara L. Jouette, Attorney, P.C.
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Deceptive spouses have many ways to hide assets

When divorcing, one of the hardest things to wrap your mind around is the idea that your soon-to-be ex-spouse had been employing an exit strategy for some time. In fact, it is possible that he or she engaged in a series of maneuvers designed to hide valuable assets so as to keep them out of the property settlement. And if you are of a less devious mindset, you may have never considered how to do such a thing, so you are at a loss as to where to look for hidden assets.

In truth, there is a whole host of tactics that deceptive spouses may employ to keep assets out of sight. The following are just a few of such tactics:

  • Overpaying a tax bill. If a spouse is planning to divorce, he or she can write an extra-large check to the IRS and then have the IRS apply the extra money to subsequent tax bills.
  • Making loans to family or friends. A spouse can make his or her assets appear less significant by loaning money to a complicit family member or friend. After the divorce, the loan can then be "paid back."
  • Purchasing expensive items. A spouse could sink money into such items as antiques, jewelry and works of art and downplay their actual worth. Then, once the divorce settlement is finalized, he or she could sell the items for their true value.

These are just three of the common methods that spouses use to try to keep their assets away from the division process. And if you don't know where to look, you may be denied your fair share of these holdings.

An experienced family law attorney could help you search for and perhaps locate assets that have been put into hiding. By using a variety of investigative tools, including the services of a forensic accountant, the attorney may be able to bring the assets to light so they can be appropriately divided.

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