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Suspect hidden assets? Check these 3 things

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2023 | Division of Property

When you file for divorce in California, you’ll want to be aware that this state operates under community property guidelines in property division proceedings. This means that the court will split your marital property and debt 50/50 between you and your ex. Many spouses wind up scrambling to gather evidence to find hidden assets when they suspect that their former partners are trying to give them the short end of the stick in a settlement.

It is unlawful to hide assets in a divorce because it is a form of perjury. Therefore, if you suspect that your spouse is attempting to conceal assets or lie about debt, it’s best to further investigate the issue before he or she gets away with it. There are many ways to stash cash or undervalue one’s net worth. To investigate, it’s best to immediately check three things.

You might discover hidden assets through concealed transactions

Have you noticed money recently withdrawn from an account you and your spouse jointly own? Did your spouse recently open a juvenile account for one of your kids under his or her own name as the primary account holder? Was there an overpayment on tax returns or a credit card balance? These are common tactics for hiding assets in a divorce. Therefore, if you suspect that your spouse is stashing cash somewhere, the first thing to do is look for concealed financial transactions.

Make sure to accurately value purchased items and assets

Another thing you’ll want to check if you suspect hidden assets in a divorce is whether your spouse has provided honest valuations of newly purchased items or existing assets. For example, if your spouse recently purchased artwork, he or she may understate its value to minimize your portion of the divorce settlement. Consider business valuations, real estate, jewelry, artwork, vehicles and more.

Has your spouse invested in digital assets?

Investing in cryptocurrency or NFTs is a way to hide assets in a divorce. Since there is no federal oversight in such transactions, they can be difficult to trace. Hiring a forensic accountant is a wise course of action. This type of accountant is an experienced investigator who knows how to scrutinize financial records to identify a money trail in any form, including digital assets.

What to do after you uncover evidence of hidden assets?

You might wonder what the next step should be after uncovering evidence of a hidden asset scheme in a divorce. You’ll want to bring the matter before a judge. In some cases, a forensic accountant may need to testify regarding the details of his or her investigation. California divorce laws state that every spouse has a right to a fair settlement. If you believe your spouse is trying to keep that from happening, you can take immediate action to resolve the issue.