If you are preparing for a divorce or believe that a divorce may be coming in the near future, it is important to monitor your finances and other assets closely. While the divorce court will do all they can to divide assets up according to Florida laws and guidelines, they can only take action on the assets that they are aware of. Unfortunately, spouses sometimes try to conceal assets in the months or even years leading up to a divorce to help them receive a better overall settlement. Learning about some of the most common ways that people in Miami try to conceal assets will help you better know where to look so you can protect your own interests.
Hiding It with Family or Friends
The most common way people conceal assets leading up to a divorce is to simply have a trusted family member or friend hold on to it until after the divorce. This can be done either by buying fake items from those people, which would provide receipts and other “proof” to the court, or by simply giving them cash or other assets slowly over the course of several months. This method is especially common for couples who don’t keep close track of their marital assets, which allows one spouse to begin hiding a significant amount of money or where one party is earning money “off the books” or “under the table”.
Buying Hobby Equipment & Other Assets
If your spouse has a hobby or other activity that they enjoy, but you don’t participate, the chances are very strong that they will get to keep all assets related to that hobby in the divorce. This makes sense, which is why many people will begin buying expensive equipment associated with their hobby while married to reduce cash accounts and other assets that would otherwise be split. This can be quite effective, especially if you don’t have a good idea of how much the hobby equipment is actually worth.
Delaying Bonuses & Raises
When attempting to hide larger amounts of money, your spouse may work directly with their employer to accomplish their goals. This type of thing usually only works if your spouse is employed by a small business. They can ask their boss to delay giving them any type of bonus, raise, stock option, or other financial incentives until after the divorce has been finalized. The employer may be happy to help since they would save money, while also keeping their employee satisfied.
Unreasonable Business Expenses
If your spouse is a small business owner, they will have a lot of options when it comes to hiding assets leading up to a divorce. Increasing business expenses will reduce the amount of money they bring into the home, which will benefit them during the divorce by reducing the assets to be divided and reducing potential child or spousal support payments. Business owners can “hire” nonexistent employees, buy unnecessary office equipment, delay invoicing clients, and much more.
Protect Your Legal Rights
While many people going through a divorce attempt to hide assets, it is often illegal, and at the very least looked at as a “reckless action” by Florida courts. If you can prove that your spouse is engaging in this type of activity, the court will include the hidden assets in the divorce and may even provide for an unequal distribution of marital assets to compensate the cooperating spouse. Our team can help investigate your spouse to determine if assets are being hidden and take action to get you everything you are entitled to. Please contact us to get the help you need.