When you prepare for property division proceedings in a California court, you must be willing to disclose all your assets and liabilities. In this state, the court equally splits marital property between spouses. However, how can you obtain an equal share of property in a divorce if your spouse is hiding assets?
To keep you from getting all that you’re entitled to in a divorce settlement, your ex might not obey full disclosure requirements. Instead, he or she might try to hide assets to keep them from being subject to division proceedings. Conducting such schemes is unlawful because it means that the person in question is lying to the court, which is perjury.
Where to look for hidden assets in a divorce
One of the most common ways that spouses hide assets in a divorce is to overpay on their income tax to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). If you should be getting a refund of several thousand dollars but, instead of collecting it in full, you only take half, the IRS will hold the other half until the following year.
If your ex were to get away with hiding assets, he or she might stash money at the IRS, only to obtain a whopping refund after you finalize your divorce. Spouses who are trying to hide assets might do something similar when paying off a credit card balance.
Who can help you uncover a hidden asset scheme?
In the accounting industry, there are people known as certified forensic accountants (CFAs). These people track expenditures and investigate money matters. If you believe that your ex is trying to beat the system in your divorce, you might want to discuss the issue with a CFA.
What does the court do about hidden assets in a divorce?
California law is on your side if you’re a spouse whose ex is hiding assets in a divorce. The court does not look favorably on someone who commits perjury. After considering the evidence, a judge can hold a spouse in contempt of court for lying about asset disclosure during property division proceedings.
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets, you can try to discuss the matter. If he or she becomes defensive, angry or confrontational, it suggests that your suspicions may be correct, or, at least, that there is reason to further investigate the issue. Do not hesitate to reach out for additional support, so that you can make sure you receive all that you’re entitled to in a settlement.