Divorce Is your Spouse Hiding his Assets

Unfortunately divorce brings out the worst in people. Some spouses when they know that a marriage has come to an end will do anything to avoid having to pay their former loved one what they are entitled to from the marriage and to divide up the matrimonial assets fairly. They know that the court will demand full disclosure of their assets as the divorce proceeds and as soon as the marriage hits the rocks will take steps to conceal what they are worth.

Common ways in which a spouse may undervalue or disguise marital assets include:

1.Antiques, artwork, hobby equipment,, and tools that are overlooked or undervalued. Look for antique furnishings, original paintings, or collector items at your spouse’s office.

2. Income that is unreported on tax returns and financial statements.

3. Cash kept hidden away or held by family or friends. You may be able to find these by tracing bank account deposits and withdrawals.

4. A trust account set up in the name of a child, relative or friend

5. Investment in certificate “bearer” municipal bonds or Savings Bonds. These do not appear on account statements

7. Collusion with an employer to delay bonuses, stock options, or pay rises until after the divorce or a time when the asset or income would be considered separate property.

8. Debt repayment to a friend for a phony debt. ? Expenses paid for a girlfriend or boyfriend, such as gifts, travel, rent, or tuition for college or classes.

9. Retirement accounts that your spouse never tells you about . In addition, business owners may try to hide assets in these ways:

10. Skimming cash from the business. ? Salary payments to a nonexistent employee, with checks that will be voided after the divorce.

11.Money paid from the business to someone close — such as a father, mother, girlfriend, or boyfriend — for services that were never actually rendered (the money is given back to your spouse after the divorce is final).

12. A delay in signing long-term business contracts until after the divorce. Although this may seem like smart planning, if the intent is to lower the value of the business it is considered hiding assets.

You may have difficulty finding these items or getting the proof you need to show they exist. Formal discovery procedures through litigation may help. For instance, you could obtain an Order from the court for an affidavit from your spouse’s boss or payroll supervisor. But you may also need to hire a forensic accountant or a private investigator. (A forensic accountant is an accountant who is trained to look into accounting practices in order to gather evidence that can be used in court.)

Document Your Finances Before Filing for Divorce

If you suspect that your spouse may attempt to hide assets, it’s best to start investigating your household and business finances before initiating divorce proceedings. Keep copies of important documents (such as tax returns, bank account statements, and pay stubs) outside the home if you’re still living with your spouse or partner.

It is likely to be some time before the court can make a final financial order in your divorce proceedings which allows an unscrupulous spouse time to remove assets and either dispose of them or place them outside of the jurisdiction of the UK Courts. When this is likely you should apply to the court at an early stage to have the matrimonial assets at risk frozen until ownership can be decided. Apart from giving security over the assets a freezing order can be a major incentive to a reluctant spouse to resolve matters in a proper fashion. Whenever there is evidence of a possibility that your spouse or civil partner will dispose of family assets before their division can be decided by the court. The application is made under section 37 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 which allows the court to make orders to prevent transactions designed to prevent or reduce proper financial provision


Legal advice and help from qualified lawyers is available online from Legal-Zone. With the help of our lawyers and using our downloadable guides and information packs you can act for yourself in divorce proceedings and save a considerable amount on legal fees.