Call Us Today! (973) 447-3943

How can I prove that my spouse is hiding assets during divorce?

By Sarah Jacobs, Esq.

Hidden and Complex Asset Division Divorce Attorneys Morris County NJ

To begin dividing assets during a divorce there has to be a panoramic financial picture of all the assets.

Complex Asset Division Divorce Attorneys Morris County NJWhen what was once a loving relationship turns sour, the divorce process can be incredibly complicated, even when both parties are in agreement.  When there is a serious discourse between spouses, one spouse may attempt to hide or conceal marital assets from the other and it can sometimes be an ugly, not to mention illegal, reality in divorce.  If you believe your spouse is hiding assets, you may want to contact an attorney with experience in asset search and investigation. Even if you don’t suspect your spouse is hiding assets, it is wise to consult with an attorney to ensure you are asking the right questions.

To begin dividing assets during a divorce there has to be a panoramic financial picture of all the assets. Generally, these assets include the property acquired during the marriage, before the marriage, after separation, or by gift or inheritance, or a mix of marital and separate property together, for example, in a bank account or retirement fund. It can become a complex, multi-faceted job to tackle which becomes even harder when a spouse chooses to hide assets.

Ways your spouse may be hiding assets to prevent a fair settlement.

  • Your spouse is secretive about financial matters– Your spouse prevents you from looking at bank and/or credit card statements and signing on to an online account to which you don’t have the password, requests all bank statements be electronic and has complete control over your financial information.
  • You see correspondence from unfamiliar financial institutions. Loan companies, credit card companies, or strange banks send statements and your spouse dismisses your questions when you ask about them.
  • Your spouse underreports income –Whether your spouse is a small business owner or receives payment in cash, he/she can easily underreport what they really earn financially in an attempt to hide profits which would otherwise be subject to property division. If this is done while you are still filing jointly and the discrepancy is flagged by the IRS, you and your spouse could be held legally responsible for purposefully submitting a false statement to the federal government.
  • Your spouse is giving money and/or property to friends and family –Giving large assets or gifts to friends and loved ones may seem generous, but it is a common tactic to hide assets. Your spouse could later reclaim these gifts once the divorce has been finalized. Frequently when family members live outside of the United States, the spouse will send large amounts of money under the guise of helping the family due to some financial misfortune they have suffered.
  • Your credit cards are being overpaid –For example, if your credit card bill is $1,000, and your spouse makes a payment of $6,000 then they just created an account with a $5,000 balance.
  • Your spouse is making large, extravagant purchases –From jewelry and artwork to automobiles, your spouse may be attempting to convert money into tangible assets and not reporting the true value.  Taking up a new hobby such as buying antiques or flying lessons can also drain the bank accounts. Investing in business ventures such as restaurants or bars owned by a friend or family member is another way to squirrel away money until the divorce is final.
  • Your spouse opened a separate account –If some of your spouse’s income is deposited into another account, he/she may be attempting to keep money away from you. Additionally, your spouse could open a custodial account with your child’s name and social security number to divert money away and claim it is for your child’s benefit.
  • Your spouse demands your signature –Your spouse may be attempting to hide assets by asking for your signature on financial documents. If this occurs, you need to read each document prior to signing or give it to your lawyer to make sure you are not being swindled.
  • Owning a private mailbox. If you discover your spouse keeps a separate P.O Box or private mail drop, he or she could be receiving financial statements in secret.
  • Deleting computer programs – A common way for a spouse who is typically in charge of finances hides assets is by deleting financial programs from your computer. He or she may also say a computer has mysteriously crashed when really your spouse has stolen or destroyed the hard drive on purpose. It is imperative to keep financial records on a cloud where they can be accessed from any computer or cell phone or to frequently upload important financial information to an external hard drive to which your spouse has no access.
  • Contact Our Morristown Divorce Attorneys TodaySudden account activity changes
    If a shared bank account has had relatively stable withdrawal activity for years but you notice strange purchases or large withdrawals, ask your spouse where the money is going. Track transactions and keep a close eye on your accounts.
  • Paying phony debts – In some situations, a spouse may pay off non-existent debts to family or friends which essentially allows the spouse to get their money back after the divorce is over.  It is a false expenditure used to divert money away from a divorce settlement.
  • New interest in cryptocurrency or Bitcoin – Your spouse starts reading articles or watching videos regarding cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin. When you inquire as to his/her sudden interest you don’t receive much of an answer. Spouses attempting to hide assets may think cryptocurrencies are a safe space for dumping money until the divorce is over. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Payments to PayPal or other payment apps can be traced as to the amount paid, the date, and even the time the transaction was conducted.

Built-in steps to uncover hidden assets

No matter how clever a deceitful spouse thinks they are, excellent legal representation can make all the difference for you. Thankfully, the process of getting a divorce has many built-in steps to uncover hidden assets. An attorney can get to important financial information by issuing a demand for certain documents or requesting a sworn deposition during the discovery phase of divorce. You are entitled to a fair settlement which can only be decided when all financial information is disclosed.  You need not be the victim of a selfish spouse who is hiding their net worth to avoid their financial obligations.

Contact Our Morristown Divorce Attorneys Today

At The Law Offices of Jacobs Berger, our New Jersey divorce attorneys support our clients in Florham Park, Tewksbury, Randolph, Morristown, across Morris County to provide professional legal advice.

To schedule a consultation with our a member of our team today regarding your particular case, please call (973) 710-4366 today for any family law-related matter.

Contact Our Morristown Attorneys Today

At Jacobs Berger, our attorneys are experienced in protecting our clients across Madison, Randolph, Tewksbury, Morristown, and the greater Morris County area in all family law-related issues.

To schedule a strategic planning session with one of our experienced team members regarding your particular case, please contact us online or through our Morristown, NJ office at (973) 354-4506.