Even when both spouses are fully cooperative, divorce is often one of the most stressful, difficult experiences that people go through in their lives. When one spouse resorts to trickery and dishonesty, however, the divorce process can be harder still.
Unfortunately, perhaps because of the high stakes and surging emotions that divorce often involves, divorcing spouses behave badly toward one another more often than many people would care to believe. One way that this can occur is when one spouse tries to conceal assets from the other.
Asset concealment: unfair and illegal
People conceal assets during divorce for a wide variety of reasons, including feelings of entitlement and even revenge. Whatever the reasons, however, asset concealment is wrong and illegal. When a spouse hides money, property or other assets during divorce, it can have a major impact on many different aspects of the divorce settlement, such as:
- Unfairly skewing the property settlement in favor of one spouse.
- Cheating children out of the full amount of child support they are entitled to by law.
- Impairing the other partner’s ability to seek and receive spousal support payments after divorce.
Warning signs that a spouse may be hiding assets
One of the best ways to protect yourself from asset concealment during divorce is simply to be aware of the risk and pay attention to what your soon-to-be-ex is doing. If you notice that he or she is engaging in any of the following behaviors, they could indicate that something is amiss:
- Taking out unusual amounts of debt.
- Complaining of sudden financial hardships or business difficulties.
- Being secretive or controlling about financial matters.
- Opening new bank accounts.
- Living a lifestyle that seems mismatched with his or her income level.
Talk to your lawyer about asset protection
If you suspect that your spouse may be trying to hid assets from you during your divorce, be sure to talk the situation over with your divorce lawyer as soon as possible. Your lawyer can work with you to develop strategies for protecting your assets during the divorce and will work hard to uncover any assets that your spouse may be hiding.
Even if you have only just begun to think about divorce, it can be helpful to speak with a lawyer about the steps you can take now to ensure that your assets are thoroughly accounted for in the event that you decide to move forward with the divorce. For more information, speak with a reputable divorce lawyer in your area.