Is your spouse hiding assets during the divorce? When you and your spouse get divorced, you are supposed to tell the court about all of your assets, and the court will then help you divide them properly. In some cases, couples will decide how they want to divide their assets on their own, and then the court will simply sign off on the agreement and make sure that it adheres to state laws.

However, many people in high-conflict divorce cases worry that their spouse is going to try to hide assets from them. Here are a few ways they might do it:

Starting their own bank account

Some people will simply funnel a portion of their earnings into a different bank account every month. For example, perhaps your spouse got a raise years ago and never told you. They’ve been setting all of this money aside in case you ever get divorced – but it’s still a marital asset.

Giving assets to a friend

But they don’t have to have a bank account to get rid of the money. They can also give it to a family member or a friend. If you don’t know that they’ve done so, you might not even realize that those assets aren’t being divided.  After the divorce concludes, the other person can then give your ex that money back.

Taking small amounts of money at a time

People often try to hide assets by using cash back to take small amounts repeatedly. For instance, they may know that taking thousands of dollars out of the bank would raise red flags and you’d notice that they removed the money. But they could spend months taking $50 in cash back every time they make a purchase at the grocery store, and that may go undetected.

FAQs About Asset-Hiding During Divorce Proceedings

Now that you understand some of the ways a spouse may go about hiding assets, let’s go over a few FAQs. Just a reminder, every case is unique. The answers to your questions may differ from the general answers below.

What exactly does it mean for a spouse to hide assets during a divorce?

Hiding assets during a divorce refers to the deliberate attempt by one spouse to conceal or undervalue marital assets to prevent their equitable distribution during the divorce proceedings. This can include transferring funds to undisclosed accounts, undervaluing properties, or failing to disclose financial information.

How common is asset hiding during a divorce?

While it is difficult to determine the exact prevalence, asset hiding during a divorce is not uncommon. It can happen in various types of divorces, regardless of the couple’s financial situation. It is important to be vigilant and take proactive steps to protect your rights and ensure a fair division of assets.

What are the legal consequences if my spouse is caught hiding assets during the divorce in Virginia?

If your spouse is caught hiding assets during a divorce in Virginia, the court may consider it a breach of fiduciary duty and view it unfavorably. The consequences can include sanctions, financial penalties, and a potential adjustment of the property division in your favor to compensate for the hidden assets.

Can a forensic accountant help uncover hidden assets during a divorce in Virginia?

Yes, hiring a forensic accountant can be instrumental in uncovering hidden assets during a divorce in Virginia. Forensic accountants specialize in financial investigations and can analyze complex financial records, trace transactions, and identify discrepancies or attempts to conceal assets.

What if I suspect my spouse is hiding assets, but I don’t have concrete evidence?

If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets but lack concrete evidence, it is essential to consult with a family law attorney. They can guide you on the best course of action, including gathering additional evidence, leveraging legal tools like discovery requests, or engaging forensic experts to uncover hidden assets.

What can I do to prevent my spouse from hiding assets during the divorce process?

To prevent your spouse from hiding assets during a divorce, consider taking the following steps:

  • Gather and preserve financial documents that provide evidence of marital assets.
  • Conduct a thorough review of joint and individual financial accounts, including bank statements, investment accounts, and retirement plans.
  • Obtain copies of tax returns, property deeds, and other relevant records.
  • Consider hiring a forensic accountant or financial expert to help identify hidden assets or discrepancies.
  • Consult with an experienced divorce lawyer who can guide you through the process and take appropriate legal actions.