How can I know if my spouse is hiding assets during our divorce?

| Mar 3, 2021 | Divorce Law |

When a divorce is imminent, some people just can’t resist the temptation to hide assets. They believe that, if they’re clever enough, they can avoid having the court divide those assets with their ex-spouse. Fortunately, people rarely get away with such behavior. If you suspect that your soon-to-be ex-spouse might be hiding assets in preparation for your up-coming divorce, there are a few key signs to look for.

Look for gifts and undervaluing of assets

New York divorce courts are bound to make an equitable (meaning fair) distribution of the marital property. This means that they take attempts to hide assets very seriously, because it is an attempt to violate a party’s right to a fair distribution.

If the court catches a party trying to hide assets, the least that can happen to them is that the court subtracts the value of the hidden assets from their share of the property division. Oftentimes, the court can also slap them with fines or other punishments.

In order to avoid this, people sometimes try to disguise assets through charitable gifts. Look for gifts your ex-spouse has recently given – in the form of cash or goods – to their friends or family. Often, they will attempt to “lend” these assets with the understanding that it will be given back to them after the divorce is finalized.

Another common method is the purposeful devaluation of assets. Make sure you get independent verification of the true value of big-ticket items such as cars, retirement accounts, vacation properties and collectibles. If your ex-spouse thinks they can get away with it, they may try to declare that something has much less value than it actually does.

If you have checked the most obvious places, but still have doubts, it might be a good idea to consult your divorce attorney. They might be able to assist you in locating additional assets that your ex-spouse is trying to keep from the court. That way, you can make sure that the property division order you receive is fair and just.