Carolann M. Aschoff, P.C.

Divorce and hiding assets

Going through a divorce is stressful and, unfortunately, can bring out the worst in some people. For most divorcing couples, matters related to the division of marital assets and shared belongings are among the most hotly debated and contested issues. In New Jersey, martial assets are divided in a divorce under the legal principle known as equitable distribution. In a nutshell, this means that a judge will work to ensure that assets are divided in a fair, but not necessarily equal, manner.

In any divorce, it's important that both parties are forthcoming about all of their shared and personal assets and debts. After all, assets and debts can't be divided if both parties don't know they exist. This notion is one that a significant amount of divorcing spouses latch onto when they intentionally attempt to hide or fail to disclose assets during the divorce process.

While today's digital world makes it easier than ever to track and discover assets, many desperate divorcees are still able to find creative ways to conceal assets. For example, an ex may suddenly develop an affinity for expensive artwork or rare coins. Additionally, over time, small cash withdrawals from ATMs can add up and may be squirreled away in a safe deposit box.

Some dishonest spouses may even try to enlist the IRS' assistance in their plans and intentionally underreport income or overpay on taxes. At times, a spouse's close friend or relative may also be in on the plan and involved in a phony debt repayment scheme. Some spouses even take advantage of their parental status and set up and fund an account in a child's name.

For anyone who is going through a divorce, it's important to seriously consider and investigate the possibility that a soon-to-be ex-spouse is hiding assets. A divorce attorney can answer questions, provide advice and help uncover assets to which an individual is entitled.


Source: Forbes, "Divorcing Women: Here's Where Husbands Typically Hide Assets," Jeff Landers, March 14, 2016

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