Hiding Assets During Divorce
If you’re going through a hotly contested divorce, you need to be aware of the possibility that your spouse might be hiding assets.
In order to keep as many assets as possible, your spouse may attempt to hide certain assets from you. This is especially true if one spouse oversees all the finances, or if significant assets—such as businesses, investments, multiple houses, stocks, and even prized artwork—are on the line during divorce proceedings.
The following are several signs that your spouse is hiding assets:
- Statements from different banks and credit cards with both you and your spouse’s names or only your spouse’s name
- Unfamiliar ATM receipts and online banking transactions
- One or multiple withdrawals from joint accounts without your knowledge
- Recently purchased vehicles, artwork, or antiques to turn money into physical assets
- Giving a significant amount of money to friend or relative as supposed debt repayment
- Your spouse experiences a sudden decrease in salary, to hold income “off the books” until the divorce is finalized
- If your spouse owns a business, he could pay new employees that don’t exist in order to hold the checks until after the divorce
- Your spouse suddenly exhibits defense, controlling, and secretive behavior whenever you discuss or attempt to talk about money
According to New York marriage law, both spouses are entitled to a significant share of marital property, which consists of all assets obtained by both or either spouse throughout the marriage. Common forms of marital assets include both parties’ income, property purchased during the marriage, and the retirement benefits each spouse earned while married.
Are There Penalties for Hiding Assets in a Divorce?
The courts greatly frown upon a spouse who hides assets in the divorce. A spouse who continuously refuses to provide financial statements can hurt his or her chances of gaining a favorable settlement. The spouse also risks being charged with contempt of court. If the divorce is finalized, it may even be possible to petition for the case to be reopened and file a motion to vacate judgment.
Be sure to request copies of all financial records to ensure your spouse doesn’t attempt to hide assets. During a divorce, you can go through the discovery process, which requires each spouse to turn over documents such as account statements, tax records, loan documents, and other paperwork related to marital finances. For high-asset divorces, a forensic accountant may be necessary to help you find all assets. An experienced attorney can help you if your spouse is hiding assets.
If you are interested in filing for divorce in Hudson Valley, contact Letterio & Haug, LLP today at (845) 203-0997 to request a consultation today.