Is your spouse hiding marital assets?
In some divorce cases, spouses may try to hide money and property in an attempt to gain more control over the marital assets.
Although couples who are going through a divorce are asked to be upfront, honest and forthcoming with information regarding their marriage, there are a number of people who attempt to hide crucial information from their spouses. In some cases, people may get away with stealing assets and property from their spouse by hiding or manipulating its whereabouts. If not caught, this deceit may result in a serious loss of money to an unsuspecting spouse. According to the Pennsylvania General Assembly, marital property must be divided in a way that is fair and equitable to each party. People may want to watch for the following key behaviors that may indicate that a spouse is attempting to hide marital assets and property.
Controlling the finances
People who feel as though their spouses are not disclosing all of the marital information that they are required to by law, should keep their eyes open for certain signs and behaviors. Whether spouses have maintained control over the household finances throughout the duration of the marriage or have suddenly become secretive with the family funds, people should be aware of where their money is going. People who are trying to hide money may avoid talking about key financial information, such as their income, benefits or other investments. They may have sole access to these accounts and be hesitant to share passwords, account numbers and other crucial information.
The spouse in question may start to purchase expensive items, such as jewelry, art, coins or cars. In some cases, the spouse may give these gifts to their close friends and/or family members for safe keeping until the divorce becomes finalized. Once the marriage is dissolved, the spouse may regain access to the expensive purchases.
Special considerations for business owners
Couples who share ownership of a business may run into a situation where one spouse is using the business to hide or manipulate funds. A spouse may report excessive losses or increased overhead for the business and then hide those funds in other accounts. According to Forbes, business owners may attempt the following:
- Overstate debts
- Report expenses that are higher than the actual amount
- Undervalue assets or fail to account for them altogether
- Fail to report or underestimate the actual revenue amount
Multiple business owners may filter money between businesses or open secret accounts without their spouse knowing.
Finding answers to your questions
If you are in the process of going through a divorce, you may have questions regarding property division, spousal support or child custody. An attorney in Pennsylvania may help to answer those questions and give you direction when it comes to making crucial decisions regarding your divorce. Understanding your rights may help you get everything you are entitled to in the divorce settlement.