How often do spouses hide assets during divorce?

As some Florida couples prepare for negotiations to divide their property during as part of their divorce, questions might come up about hidden assets. Though it might be hard to believe, there are some spouses who attempt to hide assets before the process, leading to unfair divorce settlements. And disappointingly, hiding assets is a practice, that while illegal, is more common than people think.

Why do people hide assets?

A marriage does not fall apart overnight. Often the relationship deteriorated over many months or years. When some spouses see the signs pointing towards the end of the marriage, they might decide that they are entitled to more than their fair share of the joint property and begin to hide assets, even if the possibility of divorce has not been officially raised.

How do people hide assets?

People hide assets in a variety of ways. Some of these include:

  • Putting property in another relative’s name
  • Opening a safe deposit box to hide physical property such as valuable jewelry
  • Opening secret individual accounts and depositing money into these
  • Depositing money into other people’s accounts
  • Not reporting bonuses, interests or other financial benefits they have received

How to find hidden assets?

During the preparations for divorce, hidden assets might be found as you and your divorce team begin investigating and gathering evidence. If a lifestyle analysis is done, where the couple’s income, properties and debts are analyzed to see if they were enough to allow the couple to maintain a certain lifestyle and standard of living, questions might come up that lead to further investigation if the two do not match.

Because hidden assets are a problem, you should be vigilant when you start the divorce process. Gather copies of all financial documents, including tax returns and property titles and do not be afraid to ask questions if the information does not match.