What Are Hidden Assets?
When two people decide to divorce, they are required to list all of their assets so the courts can outline a fair split. Assets include real estate, valuable property such as art or antiques, bank accounts, stocks, 401k programs, royalties and salaries. Hidden assets are any item of value that is not reported to the court.
Why Do People Hide Assets?
Because a divorce is very emotional and personal, people often decide to hide assets in order to keep them away from their divorcing spouse. Sometimes this is done out of greed, but often they are motivated by feelings of anger or betrayal.
How Do People Hide Assets?
There are many ways to hide assets. Most commonly some people “sell” cars and property to friends and relatives with intentions of taking it back after the divorce is settled. Business owners can easily pay themselves with checks to non-existent employees or simply skim cash from the books. Cash can be converted into Savings Bonds or Traveler’s checks which won’t show up on monthly bank statements. Even arrangements to have bonuses, or business deals held until after a divorce.
How Do I Find Hidden Assets?
Start by reviewing bank statements and tax returns. Look for evidence of unusual amounts of cash being moved or spent, Check with county records and the DMV for purchases and sales of property or cars. Check your spouse’s computer, phone and PDA for records of transactions to unknown banks or people.
Then hire a lawyer experienced in these kinds of matters. This digital world has made it very easy to move assets with just a click of the mouse but almost all transactions leave some kind of a trail. Get a lawyer and get your fair share.