Determining if your spouse stashed the cash

Sadly, divorce tends to bring out the worst in some spouses. Some may attempt to lie under oath, either in depositions or in the courtroom. Still others try to get more than their fair share of the marital assets by stashing cash in secret accounts or intentionally devaluing or dissipating community property.

A dishonest spouse can become quite creative when trying to hide property from the other partner. Some may transfer ownership of assets to relatives or friends who are complicit in the con. Another way of diverting resources is to siphon off income from joint accounts to a separate account in one spouse's name only.

Some husbands and wives who seek a divorce may openly invest community funds by purchasing collectibles with values that may be challenging to ascertain. For example, those who are not hardcore fans of the band KISS may be astonished to learn that a KISS pinball machine from the late 70s is now worth thousands of dollars.

So what is an honest spouse able to do under these circumstances? Your family law attorney can use the discovery process to request voluntary asset disclosures. Should discrepancies in assets or values be suspected, the next step would be to retain a forensic accountant to go over the financial records with a fine-tooth comb. He or she is highly trained to spot anomalies that can signal red flags.

Another suggestion is to make sure that all community property is fairly valuated. This is especially necessary when there are collections involved that may be difficult for a non-collector to accurately value.

Source: FindLaw, "Tips for Finding Hidden Assets in a Divorce," Christopher Coble, Esq., accessed April 20, 2018

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