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Hidden assets during divorce

When two parties divorce, the ideal scenario is for both spouses to agree to a fair and equitable division of marital assets. That’s not always the way it happens, however. Spouses have been known to hide assets from each other in order to avoid having to share them. This is often the case when one partner was primarily responsible for paying bills and managing the marital cash flow.

If your spouse always handled the finances and now your marriage is ending, it’s possible that they are hiding money and other marital assets without you even knowing about it. Here are some warning signs that you may be getting less than your fair share when everything is divided.

Unusually high household expenses

Many businesses that supply household needs, such as grocery stores, offer a cash back service that allows you to pay with debit and ask for money back. This is an especially popular concealment strategy because the charge on your bank record appears to be a legitimate purchase. The best way to catch this type of financial infidelity is to compare current expenses with past ones. If you normally paid $200 a month for groceries and your spouse is spending $300, it’s time to take a closer look.

IRS overpayments

People also try to hide marital funds by deliberately making income tax overpayments and requesting that the IRS apply the surplus to next year’s taxes. Once the divorce order is issued and everything has apparently been divided, your ex will ask for a substantial refund. Watch for evidence of tax overpayment, concealed refunds, and similar tricks.

Friends and family are receiving loan repayments

During a contentious divorce, one spouse will often transfer assets like cash or investments to a friend or family member. One popular strategy is to repay these third parties for loans that were never provided. After the divorce is finalized, they will return these assets to your ex. To prevent loss of money and other valuables that are rightfully yours, review financial records for suspicious one-sided transactions.

Other ways to hide marital property include:

  • Safety deposit boxes- there is no required disclosure or record of their contents
  • Undervaluing assets that have not been professionally appraised

Forensic accounting can uncover asset concealment, so if you suspect that your spouse is out to cheat you, hire a New York divorce attorney who can facilitate an investigation. Bank records, tax returns, credit card bills, investment records, and other financial data will have to be carefully scrutinized, but can turn up evidence that you may use to reclaim your share of any misappropriated marital funds. Your attorney will assist you in uncovering these assets and receiving a fair and equitable award.

Jayson Lutzky is a Bronx, NY lawyer handling both contested and uncontested divorces. If you are seeking divorce or have been served with divorce papers, then set up a free initial in-person consultation with Mr. Lutzky. He has more than 33 years of legal experience and appears regularly in New York Supreme and Family Courts. Visit www.MyNewYorkCityLawyer.com to learn more.

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