For most divorces, property division is a matter of two honest people trying to unwind a set of shared assets. There may be contentious issues, but people usually play by the rules. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are times when one spouse seeks to conceal assets from the other in order to keep them for themselves rather than divide them up in the divorce. In these situations it can be helpful for the other spouse to understand some common strategies for finding hidden assets, so that they can be on the lookout for them. These strategies tend to be about cash flow manipulation, and they fall into two basic categories. Spouses hide assets either by concealing their income or making their expenses look bigger.
Income concealment is when a spouse makes it appear as though they have less money coming in than they actually do. There are a variety of ways that they can do this. One common method of doing this is through coordination with their employer. For instance, a spouse due for a raise or a bonus can talk to their boss and attempt to defer payment until after the divorce process ends. Then they can keep all that money for themselves, unless the other spouse is paying attention to their financials and asks for an adjustment in their support payments.
Spouses can also use IRS policies to conceal some income. The IRS allows people to have their tax refunds deposited into an individual account, even if the refund is from a joint tax return. Spouses looking to hide these assets may take advantage of this to hide the refund in an account under their own name.
Spouses can also conceal assets by inflating their expenses, making it look like more money is going out than actually is. The most basic version of this is just moving money from a joint account into an individual one. However, this tactic is easily uncovered, so many spouses get more sophisticated. Some of them use a friend to open the other bank account, and then they give the money to that friend for the length of the divorce.
Spouses who own businesses also have some more complex expense manipulation techniques available to them. They can decrease the business revenue and make it look like they are making less than they are. One way of doing this is simply by altering the companys records to make it look like the earnings are lower.
These strategies can be caught with the help of diligent investigation. If you are considering divorce and are worried about a spouse who may start hiding assets, contact an experienced Naperville divorce attorney to learn more about the process.