When you decide to get a divorce, dividing your assets will be a primary point of contention, particularly when you’re a high net worth individual. As part of this process, you will be required to disclose all of your assets and debts, and you may find that one spouse is determined to hide or lowball certain assets in order to turn less over at the time of a divorce. When wealthy or business-owning spouses divorce, this process is all too common, and our Irvine high asset divorce attorneys have extensive experience navigating these challenging circumstances.
If you believe that your spouse is claiming assets at a figure lower than you remember, claiming that their income is low, or seems hesitant to share financial information with you, then your spouse may be attempting to lowball assets and hide them from you in the divorce. You can take several steps to bring this behavior to light and ensure that your spouse will be penalized accordingly.
Be on Alert: Assets Can be Devalued and Hidden
It’s often easier to hide or devalue assets than one thinks. Spouses who own businesses, for example, may use their business to make it seem like they have less money than they do. For example, they can wait until the divorce is finalized to enter into lucrative contracts, temporarily increase their expenses to make it seem like their revenues are dropping, or shut the business down altogether to avoid paying their spouse from their total earnings.
Another way to hide money includes setting up trusts or gifts to third parties while the divorce is in process so that it appears that the spouse’s total net worth is far less than what it seems. Once the divorce is finalized, the spouse hiding assets will typically take this money or property back from the trust for their use and enjoyment.
It’s important to bear in mind that hiding and/or lowballing assets can cost you, and doing so does carry serious consequences. If a spouse is caught doing so, the court may require them to pay the spouse’s share of the assets to them. For example, if $100,000 in marital assets were hidden, the judge may order the spouse who hid the assets to pay $50,000 to the other spouse.
How Our Irvine High Asset Divorce Attorneys Can Help
Our team of attorneys is in the business of helping their clients find hidden and devalued assets. Doing so will usually entail requesting financial documents or hiring a forensic accountant with experience catching these types of maneuvers to help you uncover the full extent of your former spouse’s wealth. During the legal discovery process – a process in your proceedings in which your attorney requests a slew of personal and financial documentation – your Irvine high asset divorce attorneys will generally be able to find critical signs that some assets have been left out of the agreement.
Contact our offices today if you believe your soon-to-be former spouse is not fully disclosing their assets.