Hiding assets during a divorce case is illegal. Despite this – and the fact that there can be serious repercussions for concealing assets in divorce – some people still try to do it (out of bitterness, bravado, etc.).
When this may be a factor complicating your divorce case, there can be a number of ways to investigate and/or prove that marital assets have been concealed. Here’s where and how to start looking…
- Financial documents or records – Paperwork like bank statements, tax records, titles/deeds, etc. can reveal when cash or other major property has been concealed in a divorce case. Here are some red flags to keep your eyes peeled for when examining these documents:
- Big transfers of funds out of mutual accounts (on bank statements).
- Underreporting income to the IRS.
- Overpaying the IRS taxes (with the expectation that the overpayment will be refunded later – i.e., after the divorce has been finalized).
- Missing ownership documents for major marital property like homes or real estate, motor vehicles, etc.
- Safe deposit boxes – These can be another way for someone to try to hide assets during divorce, with cash, ownership documents, or other financial paperwork being kept in these boxes. If you are unsure about whether an ex has a safety deposit box (where marital assets may be concealed), take a careful look at bank statements (as well as mail coming to your home) to see if there are any fees or bills for renting a safety deposit box. If so – and if you were never aware that your ex had been keeping a safety deposit box, it may be time to do some further investigation.
- “Gifts” or “loans” – Another common way that some people can try to hide assets in divorce is by ‘giving’ or ‘loaning’ money (or other marital property) to another party (with the plan to reclaim the gift or loan after the divorce has been finalized). So, if an ex has suddenly become very generous with gifts or taken to lending marital property to friends or relatives, again, it may be time to do some more digging to find out if these new habits are really a cover for concealed assets.
- Fake debts – When an ex suddenly has racked up a lot of “debt” or even developed a new gambling habit, this can be another attempt to cover the concealment of assets in divorce.
- Deferred income – In some cases, people may try to get an employer to hold back bonuses, commissions, promotions or other income in an attempt to avoid having an ex lay claim to that income (or to try to limit their future support payment obligations).
Contact Scottsdale Divorce Attorney Karen A. Schoenau
When you need effective representation in divorce, contact Scottsdale Divorce Attorney Karen Schoenau. For nearly three decades, Karen Schoenau has been committed to helping people protect their interest – and obtain the best possible outcomes – from divorce and other sensitive family legal matters (like custody disputes, paternity issues, etc.).
Call 480-467-3435 or email us via the contact form on this page to set up an initial consultation with Attorney Karen Schoenau and get honest answers about your best options for moving forward with divorce.
From offices based in Scottsdale, Attorney Karen Schoenau represents clients throughout the metropolitan Scottsdale area, including Scottsdale, Mesa, Surprise, Maricopa County, Pinal County, Gila County and throughout the state of Arizona.