The distribution of assets can be one of the most contentious and upsetting steps in a divorce. People use asset division as a chance to hurt each other or penalize them for wrongdoing during the marriage; they stake claims on different things just so their ex can't have them; there are even people who try to hide money and assets to keep them away from an ex.
This last decision can prove to be especially unwise, as it comes with serious repercussions including fines and the potential for incarceration. However, people still take the risk of hiding assets. Often, these assets and properties are hidden in or ex's business.
For example, below are a few common and fairly simple ways your ex may try to hide assets in or using a business:
- Delaying payment of employment bonuses and commissions until after a divorce has been finalized
- Undervaluing a business
- Concealing ownership or stakes in a company
- Exaggerating or falsifying business expenses
- "Forgetting" about stock options and other company benefits
- Diverting paychecks to separate, secret accounts
- Wrongfully claiming an asset is owned by a business, not an individual
- Temporarily transferring assets or money to a company or business partner to retrieve later
These are just a few ways an ex could use their professional connections and resources to try to conceal personal assets that would otherwise be eligible for distribution in your divorce. And the fact is, the ramifications of hiding assets can be much more significant than you realize, especially in high-asset divorces.
If your ex has considerable control at his or her business, or if he or she has a very close relationship with business owners, this might be the first place to look for hidden assets. Unfortunately, it can be extremely complicated and all but impossible to investigate this situation thoroughly and lawfully on your own.
Because of this, it can be important to consult an attorney who can help you protect yourself and the assets that may rightfully be yours. With legal guidance, you can analyze the financial picture being painted by an ex and challenge a financial affidavit that may be less than truthful and accurate.