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How Your Spouse is Hiding Money From You

Beware. Your spouse is hiding something from you. If you are currently going through a Georgia divorce, or if you believe that your spouse is considering divorce, your spouse may be hiding something from you that is very critical to the outcome of your divorce – marital assets. If you are thinking that something like hiding assets is a topic that doesn’t apply to you or your divorce case, think again. You don’t have to be a millionaire for this topic to affect you. As Atlanta divorce attorneys, we have seen several instances of everyday people seeking to game the system by failing to disclose accounts or assets on financial affidavits, or individuals who fraudulently seek to use tools such as trusts or other asset protection tools to reduce the size of the marital estate to disadvantage their spouse in divorce.

Do you believe that your spouse is hiding assets, but are unsure where to look to prove your spouse’s deceptive behavior? The following are a few ways that sneaky spouses seek to hide marital assets during divorce.

  • Purchasing easily overlooked or undervalued items – like antiques, baseball card collections or artwork.  
  • Stashing cash in a safe deposit or other secret location – if your spouse has a cash based business, of if he or she regularly keeps large amounts of cash, he or she may be hiding cash assets.
  • Underreporting income on tax returns – income tax returns are normally used to substantiate information listed on domestic relations financial affidavits. But, if the income has not been reported on the tax return, it will be hard to prove its existence.
  • Overpaying taxes or creditors – this may not seem like an effective method to hide assets at first, but if your spouse overpays the IRS or other creditor this increases his or her apparent debt, and may entitle him or her to a refund – and this refund may come after your divorce is finalized.
  • Create phony debt – unfortunately this is a common tactic. Your spouse may “borrow” money from friends or family to appear deeper in debt, and even go so far as to make payments to his or her relative – all the while knowing that the money will be returned post-divorce.
  • Defer employment benefits, bonuses or raises – your spouse may request that his or her employer defer certain employment benefits until after your divorce is finalized.
  • Set up accounts in the name of a third party – your spouse is required to disclose his or her financial circumstances, but not usually the financial circumstances of his or her new girlfriend or his or her other family members. So, your spouse may create accounts in the name of third parties to hide income and assets from equitable distribution.
  • Transfer assets to a trust or to third parties – the court cannot divide an asset that doesn’t belong to your spouse. Thus, your spouse may transfers assets to a trust or a third party, like a family member, in preparation for divorce in an effort to shield those assets from division.
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