written by Edouard J.P. Bouquet
Sometimes in a divorce a spouse may try to hide assets in a misguided attempt to reduce the value of marital property. We developed our Hidden Assets Checklist to help you identify suspicious behavior.
In a previous article, I discussed the lengths to which a spouse may go to reduce the value of marital property in a divorce. Hiding assets isn’t uncommon especially in a divorce which involves a business owner or high net worth individual. Understanding the signals that may indicate an attempt to hide assets allows you to gather evidence to share with your attorney. Of course, not all accusations of hidden assets are justified. They are often leveled out of a misplaced suspicion or, sometimes, as a tactic to establish a better negotiating position. However, the best person to help determine this is your attorney. The Hidden Assets Checklist tells you what to look for and information that will be helpful.
In my previous life as a criminal defense attorney in Miami, I was involved in many cases where prosecutors tried to establish a trail of hidden assets as proof of criminal malfeasance. This experience gave me unique insight into how assets are concealed. Proving hidden assets in a divorce often comes down to the paper trail, just like in a criminal case. Hiding assets is not easy. There is almost always a trail of bread crumbs. Providing the appropriate information to your attorney is critical. I hope the Checklist helps you find the information you need.
It’s important that you respect the law when collecting information. Never steal passwords, break into mobile phones, or take other steps that are illegal. The best advice is to speak with your attorney if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets and follow their advice on steps you can take. Our checklist provides some of the actions that might be taken by someone hiding assets and also explains some of the tricks and tactics that they might employ. Our intent is to educate readers on what they should be looking out for and what sort of information might be helpful to their attorney.