Crossing the Line Between Protecting Assets and Hiding Assets
On behalf of Divorce Lawyer – Laurie Newmark
Protecting assets during a divorce is a common practice, but in many cases former spouses may cross the line into hiding assets.
Concealing assets can damage the likelihood of a favorable settlement
When former spouses go through a divorce, it is likely that one or even both will take a defensive stance regarding their assets. Most people, after all, want to protect what they have and, particularly in complex divorce cases, a spouse will employ an asset protection plan to help ensure a more favorable divorce settlement. According to Forbes, however, in many cases such a plan can cross the line from legitimately protecting assets to illegally concealing them. Hidden assets are a common problem in divorce cases and while they are relatively easy to spot, doing so often requires expert legal and financial assistance.
Finding concealed assets
Most cases of a former spouse concealing assets are replete with telltale signs that are easy to spot for those trained to catch them. If the former spouse own a business, especially a cash business, for example, then there are plenty of opportunities for him or her to try to underestimate his wealth. In many cases, a sudden rise in “expenses” or a drop in profits at around the time when a divorce is becoming a possibility should send up some red flags for the other party. Tax returns can also provide plenty of clues about whether a former spouse is being completely upfront about his or her finances.
Although hidden assets are fairly easy to expose, doing so does require legal and financial help. Professional assistance, in the form of a family law attorney and forensic accountant, can help anybody who suspects a former spouse of financial impropriety in uncovering the truth. Even financial documents that appear to be legitimate may contain clues of financial impropriety that only a forensic accountant can pick up on.
Why hidden assets matter
Being deceptive about assets during divorce is problematic not simply because such action is illegal, although it most certainly is. When one spouse tries to hide their assets from the other then reaching a favorable divorce settlement becomes even more difficult.
Even when those hidden assets are exposed, the trust between both parties will likely have deteriorated substantially. In fact, according to Financial Advisor Magazine, the most difficult part of many divorces is not finding concealed assets, but agreeing on how much they are worth once they are exposed. With distrust between both parties at such a high, the likelihood of a divorce dragging on and neither side reaching a satisfactory settlement likewise increases.
As suggested above, ensuring one gets a fair deal during a divorce requires the assistance of an expert family law attorney. An experienced attorney can help not just in cases where a former spouse is suspected of concealing assets, but in making sure his client’s best interests are well represented at every stage of their divorce.
Keywords: divorce, hiding assets, division of assets