Getting divorced is always more contentious when the spouses cannot agree on money and property issues. The situation is made even worse when one spouse is suspected of hiding assets from the other. If you believe your spouse has taken marital assets and put them outside your reach, you need professional help in locating and retrieving them.
Here are some common ways that spouses can hide assets prior to or during a divorce:
- They may place cash in secret bank accounts or safety deposit boxes. Sometimes, these depositories are located offshore in countries where laws prevent disclosure of ownership.
- They may make gifts of money or property to friends or relatives, based on under-the-table agreements that the gifts will be returned once the divorce has been finalized.
- They may collude with others to engage in arms’ length transactions that will be cancelled after the divorce is final.
- They may set up trust accounts in behalf of children or other beneficiaries, which can later be altered or revoked.
- If they own a business or part of one, they might create no-show jobs or nonexistent contracts while diverting the salaries or fees to themselves. Or they may inflate business expenses or delay income-producing transactions to reduce the business’s value.
- They may purchase various forms of cryptocurrency, which can be very difficult to track and to access.
Part of confirming that assets are being hidden is just being observant. If your spouse is making large purchases that they never used to make, or they have become secretive about their money and bank accounts, these are red flags. You should also watch for unusual gifts to friends and family. If your spouse never gifted anything to anyone throughout the marriage but starts doing so just before the start of divorce proceedings, this could be a sign that these gifts aren’t legitimate and that the recipients intend to return the money after the divorce is finalized.
You should also track the location of all money and other property that you and your spouse hold together. Make a list or a map and obtain as much documentation of the assets as you can. Carefully review financial documents with an eye toward noticing questionable money or property transfers.
An experienced New York divorce attorney can assist you in locating hidden assets and taking action to retrieve them. This includes hiring forensic accountants or private investigators to review existing financial records and to spot irregularities. A resourceful lawyer can also seek information and evidence through pretrial discovery, including use of subpoenas, witness depositions and documentary demands.
If you’re considering or are in the process of getting divorced and you’re worried that your spouse is hiding or will hide assets, contact an experienced attorney right away. Goldberg Sager & Associates in Brooklyn is ready to help. Contact us today by calling 718-514-9516 or by contacting us online.