Hiding of assets is not an uncommon thing in divorces these days. Sometimes when spouses want to keep more than their deserved share of marital property, they attempt to hide them from the court using various ways. This does not only indicate dishonesty towards their spouse, but it is also disobedience of the law.
Hiding assets is illegal, and any Massachusetts divorce lawyer would suggest you refrain from such activities. If you suspect your spouse of hiding assets, you should hesitate to hire an attorney. Finding out hidden assets is not the work of an inexperienced person, and you need expert assistance.
Common ways people hide assets in a divorce
Manipulate debts and assets.
If your spouse owns a business in Massachusetts, they can try to manipulate debts and assets in various ways to make it look like they are earning less. For example, they may ask their customers to withhold payments past a reasonable amount so that it looks like they have less money. They can also do this by paying their own debts and under-reporting sales. These activities can devalue a business.
Gifts to friends.
A common way of hiding assets is to “gift” them to someone who will return them after the divorce is finalized. For example, your spouse may give an expensive watch to their friend, who returns it after you are legally separated. If your spouse already has a romantic partner, they may move it to their account. They do this to minimize the number of assets to be divided in the divorce.
Opening a separate account.
It is often recommended that divorcing couples create their separate bank accounts and plan their finances for life after the divorce. However, they are not allowed to take it upon themselves to move money into their accounts secretly. Keep an eye on your shared accounts and check them regularly. If you notice major or even minor unexplained changes, something fishy could be going on.
If you have many marital assets, such as cars, homes, jewelry, antique collection, etc., your spouse may try to undervalue those assets. Then, when the asset division process occurs, it appears as if it is taking place fairly. However, in reality, your spouse is truly getting the higher-valued items, and they get more than they should.
Purchasing luxury items.
If you and your spouse have a lot of money in your shared accounts, you need to be careful about it. Your spouse may not stash the money in cash, but they may try to buy luxury items using it. If your spouse is buying too many luxe items, you need to take a look at the marital funds.