During a divorce, it’s not uncommon to learn your spouse is hiding property, has gambled away money or is reporting lower than actual income. During divorce proceedings, each spouse is legally required to disclose all assets, income, debt and expenses. However, some people lie, cheat or steal so they can keep these assets to themselves.
Many people are shocked to discover how commonplace it is for their husband/wife to deceive them so they can:
● Overstate debts
● Report lower than actual income
● Report higher than actual expenses
● Hide, understate, or undervalue marital property
Typically, a spouse hides assets to retain more of the marital property, and deny the other what he or she is entitled to receive. When you sign the financial affidavit, you’re swearing to be truthful about assets, income, etc. There are consequences for lying which vary in each state, but range from fines to dismissal of claims.
If you suspect your spouse has engaged in any of the following, it’s best to alert your attorney and work together to find a good outcome. Here are the most common ways people try to deceive and what you, and your attorney, can do about it.
1. It’s My Retirement
It is common to see one party drain their retirement account and deny the other person their share of the money. An attorney should try to recoup the lost money from other assets, but emptying a retirement account is a huge hit to the other spouse.
2. My Property
Property is also divided between the spouses. During discovery, your attorney digs deep into your accounts to ensure they are informed about all of your properties in order to get you half of what was contributed to during the marriage. If a person buys property in their name only, and it’s undiscovered, you could lose out on property you didn’t know existed.
3. Hidden Cash
We have seen cash buried in the backyard, under mattresses and in hidden accounts. If your attorney doesn’t work with a forensic accountant, then you should find one who does. To discover hidden money, your attorney and the forensic accountant will review bank statements to flag any discrepancies in cash flow. If your spouse is hiding funds, and it’s not discovered, you could miss out on money which should be divided. Depending on the amount, this could greatly impact your future finances.
Uncovering embarrassing or hurtful secrets during a divorce could have a major financial impact on your future. It’s imperative you work with a qualified divorce team to ensure you have the professional expertise needed to receive a fair settlement.