Hiding assets from a spouse is not as uncommon as you think, especially when couples go through a divorce. The perpetrator simply does so because he or she does not want these assets discovered otherwise they would have to share them. This is trickery that also is sneaky and illegal.
Common types of assets hidden include cash, mutual funds, stocks, bonds, cash value life insurance policies and Series EE savings bonds. Then again, people also may convert cash into certain personal properties, including jewelry, art, collectibles and even boats. These can be overlooked, too.
Help from third parties
Assets usually are hidden with third parties such as relatives and friends or through fabricated documents. Here are some of the ways in which someone attempts to hide assets:
- Through the willing help of relatives and friends. Although, sometimes, these people may be unaware of their involvement in diverting personal assets. For example, some people may hide certain personal assets and investment certificates in safe-deposit boxes owned by family members or friends.
- By paying down a mortgage as well as credit card balances. This is done right out in the open and likely arouses little if any suspicion.
- The “repayment” of fake debts to relatives and friends. On the surface, they may seem legitimate, but under closer review, they do not pass the smell test.
- Expenses related to marital affairs as a spouse may pay for travel, rent, gifts and even college tuition for a lover, masking such costs as the legitimate use of spending.
- The transfer of assets into accounts in the names of corporate entities, relatives and friends.
- The creation of custodial accounts under your children’s social security numbers and transferring assets into pensions or 401(k)s represent other surreptitious ways to hide funds.
- An employee also may collude with an employer to postpone raises and bonuses until a divorce is final.
It may be easy to overlook certain assets that come into question during a divorce. Then again, it may not be because hat trust between you and your spouse may have been broken a long time ago. Make sure to protect yourself and turn over every financial “stone” in looking for what rightfully belongs to you, too.