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What To Do If You Think Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets

By Jan 13, 2022 Posted in Articles

What To Do If You Think Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets

Divorce is never pleasant, and in many cases is bitter and contentious. It is not unusual for one spouse or the other to attempt to hide income or other assets not only from their spouse, but from the court as well. Iowa is an equitable distribution state, which means that courts divide assets and other property in a way that is deemed equitable or “fair.” For this reason, it is important to understand what can be done about a spouse hiding assets during divorce. Those with questions may want to consider scheduling a consultation with Simpson Legal Group, LLC at 712-256-9899.

Division of Assets in Iowa

While Iowa is not a community property state as many other states are, assets are generally (but not always) divided by the court in a way that is fair and just. Assets acquired during the marriage are distributed equitably, however the inheritances and gifts of one spouse are not subject to division according to Iowa Code Section 598.21 Some examples of assets that may be divided include but are not limited to:

  • Any items purchased during the marriage with earnings of either or both spouses
  • Business venture earnings
  • Lottery and casino earnings
  • Employment earnings
  • Investment earnings
  • Bonuses
  • Real estate
  • Artwork, antiques, and collectibles

A spouse who is bitter or vindictive may behave in a manner that seems secretive when attempting to hide assets. Most who try to hide assets are not above lying to get the result they want.

How Spouses Hide Assets and Money

There are countless techniques a spouse hiding assets during divorce may use when attempting hide money and assets from their soon-to-be ex. Techniques often used include:

  • Hiding valuable collections, art, or antiques with a friend or family member and claiming the items were given away
  • Valuing antiques, artwork, collectibles or collections well below market value
  • Withdrawing substantial amounts of money from bank or savings accounts
  • Using a debit card to withdraw small amounts of money from bank accounts with the hope it will not be noticed by their spouse
  • Having the portion of a salary raise direct deposited in another bank account
  • Transferring real estate to a friend or family member who will return it following the divorce
  • Buying expensive goods for the purpose of reselling or returning the goods following divorce
  • Conspiring with a supervisor or company executive to put off the payment of stock options or bonuses until the divorce becomes final
  • Hiding money or jewelry in a personal safe or safe deposit box
  • Using cryptocurrency to hide financial assets

These are just a few of the ways spouses attempt to hide assets during a divorce. A person who is vengeful can often think outside the box when it comes to hiding assets.

Signs Indicating a Spouse Hiding Assets During Divorce

When spouses divorce, one may notice some unusual or odd behavior in the other if that spouse is trying to do something unethical regarding the marital finances. A vindictive or vengeful spouse often looks for ways to hide assets so they will not have to share them with their soon to be ex-spouse.

Some of the signs a person may notice when their spouse is attempting to hide assets include:

  • Secretive in terms of financial matters
  • Maintaining total control over bank account passwords and information
  • Lifestyle and purchases seem extravagant considering income level
  • Deleting QuickBooks or other financial programs from computers
  • Owning a separate P.O. Box
  • Exaggerating, lying, or complaining about the state of their finances
  • Overseas bank accounts
  • Suspect withdrawals or purchases in a shared bank account
  • Gifting assets to friends or family members
  • Becoming interested in cryptocurrency
  • Controlling or demanding the other spouse’s signature on financial documents without allowing sufficient time for the document to be read

Never, ever sign any document when going through a divorce without carefully reading the fine print first. Simpson Legal Group, LLC is available for those with questions.

Steps to Take When You Suspect Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets

Those who suspect their spouse is trying to hide assets or money during a divorce should do several things including gathering evidence. Examples of this include:

  • Getting salary and withholdings evidence from the spouse’s employer
  • Bills including tuition, car payments, mortgage, utilities, insurance premiums, etc.
  • W2s, 1099s and other documents including tax returns
  • Joint bank account statements
  • Photographs of jewelry, motorcycles, artwork, gifts, and other assets that cannot be explained
  • Written and notarized statements regarding relevant information from friends, co-workers, and family members
  • Cash transaction records

A spouse who discovers evidence that evidence is being hidden may want to consider seeking legal counsel. Accountants and private investigators may be able to assist a spouse in recovering funds that were fraudulently transferred along with tracking other assets that are missing. It may be necessary to file for legal protection, as judges can order that bank accounts be frozen or other orders be granted that cease suspicious transactions involving money or assets.

Revealing Hidden Assets in Divorce

When a spouse is certain their partner is engaging in activities in order to hide marital assets, they may want to consider the discovery process. This legal process can be useful in acquiring the information critical to dividing marital assets properly. According to the Iowa Judicial Branch Guide to Civil Court Procedure the discovery process allows one spouse to secure information from the other. A spouse may ask questions of any witnesses to fraudulent activity, take depositions, or file interrogatories. Interrogatories are used to reveal facts about a legal case and are lists of questions that must be responded to in writing by the respondent. Any oral questions posed by the spouse engaging in the discovery process are only responded to when the witness has taken the oath to tell the truth under penalty of perjury.

Consider Scheduling a Visit with Simpson Legal Group, LLC

A spouse hiding assets during divorce is not unusual, particularly when there is a great deal of animosity between spouses or substantial assets involved. It may be difficult to prove your suspicions, but there are steps you can take as mentioned above. Those in Iowa who suspect fraudulent activities by their spouse in divorce may want to consider reaching out to Simpson Legal Group, LLC at 712-256-9899.

 

 

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50 Northcrest Drive, Council Bluffs, Iowa 51503
Phone: 712.256.9899

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