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Investigation hidden assets in a divorce can be challenging

On Behalf of | Aug 1, 2017 | Divorce

Whenever a New Jersey couple considers ending their marriage, it would only be natural for both spouses to feel vulnerable. This is an emotional time, and it is not uncommon for one party to suspect the other of hiding assets — particularly if it is a high-asset divorce. Although suspicions may be unfounded, it might be worth investigating.

There are some predictable places to look for concealed assets, starting with under-reporting individual values. Some convert cash into expensive art pieces or antiques and then declare lower values for those items. Spouses involved in occupations that involve cash transactions can fail to report their full income on financial statements and tax returns, and the receipt of bonuses and stock options can be delayed until after the divorce to keep it out of the marital estate. The same tactics can be used with the delay in signing profitable business contracts.

A parent can hide cash in a custodial account, set up by using the social security number of a child, or he or she can issue salary checks to fake employees to be voided after the divorce is finalized. Some pay false personal debts to friends that will be refunded after the divorce. The same can be done to reduce the business assets by paying for nonexistent services or goods — only to cancel the transactions later. It may also be worth checking for no-interest investment bonds that are not reported on a spouse’s tax returns.

Then there is the possibility of money spent on a lover — expensive gifts, travel expenses, hotel rentals and more. The list of ways in which assets can be hidden is endless and typically very difficult to trace. For this reason, people in New Jersey who suspect their soon-to-be-exes from concealing assets choose to utilize the skills of experienced divorce attorneys to handle the investigations that might reveal hidden assets to ensure the fair division of property.

Source: wife.org, “Where to Search for Hidden Assets During Divorce,” Candace Bahr, Ginita Wall, Accessed on July 22, 2017