While some couples who decide to obtain a divorce will do so amicably and agree on all the major issues, other partners will not treat each other fairly. This is especially true when the divorce is bitter, and there are many assets to divide.
Because divorce can bring out the worst in people, some will attempt to hide assets as they prepare to file for divorce. Here are six warning signs that your spouse may be hiding marital assets and/or income:
#1: Overpaying Debts
One strategy that your spouse may employ is to overpay debts, such as to the IRS. The goal is to obtain a refund of any overpayment once the divorce is final, so you have no legal right to the money.
#2: Taking Control of the Finances
It should be a red flag if your spouse takes complete control of the finances or changes the passwords, so you cannot get into your accounts. If your bank statements are mailed to you, you may suddenly stop receiving them if your spouse changes your mailing address with the bank without your knowledge. They may be doing this to divert funds into a separate, hidden account.
#3: Making Expensive Purchases Without Your Knowledge
Another warning sign that your spouse is trying to hide assets is purchasing expensive items without telling you. If they are especially deceitful, they may hide the items they purchase, so they can enjoy them or sell them once you are divorced.
#4: Opening a Private Post Office Box
Did you discover that your spouse has a post office box you did not know about? This may have been done to hide new financial accounts and bills.
#5: Making Unknown Payments Out of Joint Accounts
Another way that your spouse may be stealing assets is by making large withdrawals from a joint account without your knowledge. They may also transfer funds out of your account into unknown accounts in their name only.
#6: Paying Unknown Debts
If your partner starts paying loans you did not know about to family members or friends, they may be not be paying a true loan. They may have a side agreement with the person to return the money to them after your divorce is finalized.
How to Locate Hidden Assets
You need the help of an experienced family law attorney if you suspect that your spouse is taking your assets in secret. Ways that your attorney can help you locate hidden income and property include:
- Analyzing your income tax returns for income and interest that you did know about
- Reviewing bank accounts for income, expenses, and unusual withdrawals
- Reviewing personal loan and credit card statements for purchases made in secret and for large overpayments of the balance owed
- Examining loan applications that may disclose income or assets that you were not aware of
- Reviewing your spouse’s business records if they own a business, looking for hidden assets, income, and fake loans that they are paying
- Searching public records for purchases of real estate, vehicles, boats, and other recreational vehicles in their name only
How Hiding Assets Could Affect Your Divorce
In Virginia, marital property and debts are divided equitably in a divorce. However, the judge could impose penalties on your spouse if you establish that he was trying to hide assets or income from you. This can include awarding you more of the marital assets or requiring your spouse to pay spousal support to pay back the amount that was hidden from you. If your partner’s actions were especially deceitful, they could face criminal charges and penalties as well.
Are you worried that your spouse is hiding assets from you? My skilled legal team and I can conduct a thorough investigation of your financial records to find any hidden assets and fight so you receive your fair share of the marital assets in your divorce. To learn more about how we can help you, call my Midlothian office today to schedule a free consultation today at 804-396-3329.