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Six Common Ways Spouses Try to Hide Assets During Divorce

We would all like to believe that our soon-to-be ex-spouses, for all their faults, will be honest during divorce, but that is often not the case, especially where money is involved. After all, dishonesty in one form or another might be the reason your marriage is ending. As you head into the divorce process, be aware that your partner may try to deceive you by hiding assets.

Disclosing assets and liabilities is part of any divorce. And even though it’s unlawful to misstate one’s assets and debts, that doesn’t stop people from doing it. Hiding assets is much more common than most people would like to think.

According to a study cited in Forbes, 58 percent of spouses admitted to hiding cash from their spouse, while 34 percent admitting lying about finances, debt or the amount of money they earn. That’s just the people willing to admit it, which means the real number could be even higher.

If your spouse hides assets, you could be cheated out of the property you deserve during divorce, and it could even affect how much child support or spousal support you receive.

These are six of the most common ways in which a spouse may hide assets from the other:

  1. Unreported income — If your spouse is involved in any sort of cash business, he could try to pocket some of the money and keep it off the books, meaning he has more money than you’ve been led to believe.
  2. Nonexistent employees — If you have a family business, your spouse might write salary checks to fake employees and then void the checks later. An audit of the company’s payroll during divorce should uncover this fraudulent behavior.
  3. Family and friends — You ex’s close family and friends might be willing to help your ex by allowing her to make phony payments to them for nonexistent products and services. The money could come out of a private account or a business account to reduce revenue.
  4. Custodial bank accounts — Your ex could set up a secret bank account in the name of a child, using the child’s Social Security number, and then transfer money into this account and keep it hidden.
  5. Transfer stock — A spouse can easily transfer stock ownership to a family member or business partner, or even to a shell company, and then transfer it back to himself after the divorce.
  6. Safe deposit box — Using a safe deposit box is an old-school, low-tech method of hiding anything, from cash to jewelry to small collectibles and other physical assets.

At the Law Offices of Paul Chatzky, we know how to locate and recover hidden assets in even the most complex divorce cases, including assets that may be located overseas. If you think your spouse might be hiding property from you, call 847-416-1646 or contact us online to schedule a consultation at our Northfield, Illinois office.

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Paul Chatzky
Founder

About Born in Havana, Cuba, Paul Chatzky is fluent in Spanish and English, enabling him to effectively represent a wider range of individuals and businesses. He is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, and is listed among Illinois Super Lawyers, which is a reflection of his high ethical standards and exceptional legal knowledge. As…

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Deborah E. Chatzky
Paralegal

About Prior to joining the firm as a paralegal, Debbie was employed by major banking institutions as a loan processor and as an executive secretary. Debbie was also employed as an administrative assistant for the Board of Jewish Education. Having majored in Sociology, Debbie graduated from the University of Florida in 1980. Debbie completed her…

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