Like many modern couples, you and your spouse may both have good paying jobs. Perhaps you combined your incomes in a joint account, or you may have decided to deal with bills individually and keep your accounts separate. Whatever the case, if you are approaching divorce, you should be aware that California law considers all assets you acquire during your marriage to be community.
In a community property state, the court will divide marital assets equally in a divorce. This may be something your spouse finds unacceptable or worrisome. It is possible that your spouse may try to hide assets to keep them from becoming part of property division in your divorce. How can you know if this is happening, and what can you do about it?
Do you know what to look for?
Hidden assets are a serious problem in divorce. If your spouse keeps assets back from you, you will not have the opportunity to obtain you fair share of marital property. This could affect your ability to maintain your financial stability after the divorce. While common myths say that high-earning husbands are the ones who usually hide assets, this is not always true. Here are some signs that your spouse may be trying to illegally protect assets from your divorce:
- Your spouse’s paycheck or bank statements do not show bonuses, overtime pay, commissions or other income you know he or should have received.
- Your spouse withdraws money supposedly to pay for debts for which you have never seen a bill.
- He or she overpays a debt or tax bill, intending to request a refund after the divorce.
- You notice a cryptocurrency app on your spouse’s phone or see transfers from your joint account to Bitcoin trading sites.
- Your spouse is suddenly purchasing antiques or art, claiming they are worthless.
- Your passwords no longer work to access bank account information, or paper statements no longer come in the mail.
In fact, any unusual changes in your spouse’s actions or attitudes toward your finances may raise your suspicion. Is he or she suddenly loaning money to friends and relatives? Are deposits to your joint account getting smaller? Has your spouse established a new business into which marital funds are trickling? Any of these and others may indicate your spouse is stashing away funds for after the divorce.
If you suspect your spouse is not being honest about your marital assets, you would be wise not to postpone seeking legal assistance. A skilled attorney will have the resources to seek out hidden assets to help you obtain a full and fair division of assets in your divorce.