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Let’s Talk About Divorce: Six Places Your Spouse Might be Hiding Assets

Posted on February 11, 2022 by Christina Smith

Occasionally, a spouse preparing to go through divorce may attempt to hide assets in order to avoid disclosing and sharing those assets with their soon-to-be ex.  If you’re worried your spouse may be hiding assets, here are six places you should be sure to check:

  1. Bogus Debt Payoffs

Did your mother-in-law gift you the down payment for your family home and suddenly your spouse is insisting that it was a loan that must be paid off?  The existence of a written agreement can offer the information you need.  You might need statements from the parents or even a deposition to uncover the truth.  Large repayments to family and friends can also be made with a side agreement or even unspoken agreement that the money will be transferred back after the divorce. Pay close attention to any surprising debts that pop up during the process.

  1. Funny Business

Divorcing a spouse who owns their own business can be complicated.  A business owner has a lot of opportunities to play with their income and hide assets.  He or she could overpay taxes, funnel personal expenses through business accounts, defer their own pay or disbursements, defer collection of payments or other projects from clients, or delay launch of a new product until after the divorce is finalized. A trusted forensic business valuator will be skilled in uncovering such shenanigans.

  1. Delayed Income

Your spouse could finagle a deal with his or her employer to hold off on a promotion, raise or bonus until after the divorce is finalized.  This can be difficult to uncover and often comes down to remembering details that a spouse told you prior to divorce about expectations regarding employment.  A well-crafted set of discovery, a subpoena to the employer and even a deposition might uncover the truth.

  1. Cryptocurrency

Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin, Uniswap, Polygon and Ripple are not held by a bank or government entity but are kept in a database known as blockchain, which is accessed through the internet.  As a result, cryptocurrency can be very private and difficult to uncover if one spouse is in the dark as to its existence.  The prices change by the minute, making valuation tricky as well.  It’s helpful if your attorney has had experience with cryptocurrency and they should include the identification of this asset in discovery requests.

  1. Collectibles

Does your spouse have an expensive art collection, car collection, or other collectibles?  If so, you may need an appraisal to capture their true value instead of letting your spouse decide the value.

  1. The Old Fashioned Safe

Has your spouse been squirreling away gold in a home safe?  Maybe he or she has a safe deposit box at a bank you’ve never visited?  Make sure your attorney asks for this information in discovery and scour those bank statements for mysterious purchases.

If you are preparing to go through divorce and need the assistance of counsel, the Family Law attorneys at Lasher Holzapfel Sperry & Ebberson are here to help.