New Jersey couples who are going through a divorce understand that knowing what assets make up the marital property is essential for purposes of property division. Depending on the circumstances, some assets may be hard to find. This lack of transparency might cause a problem when attempting to divide property appropriately. There are ways to determine what assets are present if the other spouse has taken steps to hide assets. Learning warning signs that might indicate fraudulent activity by a spouse is helpful.
If a divorcing spouse intentionally hides assets, it may be considered fraud. There are several elements to fraud, lincluding opportunity, pressure to hide the assets and a rationalization that it is necessary but does not mean the spouse is acting badly. This may happen over a period of time. When this occurs, finding the trail may be more difficult. Forensic accountants have multiple ways to review financial records, enabling them to find hidden assets.
It might be possible to recognize behavior that indicates an individual intends to hide funds from his or her spouse. Red flags include a distinct variation in the fabric of confidentiality the spouses share. One spouse may begin to act differently, avoiding a spouse’s inquiries and acting deceptively. In addition, the spouse may take money out of the bank uncharacteristically or make loans to friends or relatives. A spouse may also begin to spend funds with abandon, allowing bills to go past the due date. Assets may also be destroyed or dissipated that otherwise would be subject to equitable distribution.
People who are facing the end of their marriages and who suspect their estranged spouses of financial fraud may want to discuss their concerns with their family law attorneys. In many cases, legal counsel will suggest the retention of a forensic accountant who can work to obtain evidence of this behavior so that it can be presented to the court.