One of the biggest sources of contention in a New Jersey divorce is deciding how to split up your assets with your former spouse. It is common for people to disagree about what is fair or reasonable at the end of their marriage. Some people will dig their heels in and fight over every penny, while others will take a more indirect approach to getting what they want.
Hiding assets is a surprisingly common tactic that people take in the months leading up to a divorce. Although you may never consider trying to subvert the legal process, it is possible that your ex might. The best way to protect yourself is to learn a little bit about common ways that people hide assets in their divorces.
Secret accounts or collections of cash are common
People who know they are about to make a major change to their lives often want the financial security that comes from having an emergency financial fund. However, it is illegal to siphon funds that should be marital property off to a separate account for the benefit of one spouse.
Still, quite a few people will try to build up their own hidden checking or savings account before they file for divorce. Locating the account and determining how much is in it is the best way to protect yourself from this form of hiding assets.
If your spouse doesn’t want to leave a paper trail, they could start making small cash withdrawals at the bank or even at the grocery store. Taking out an extra $40 every time they use their debit card would be a sneaky but consistent way build up a cash fund that you might not realize has gone missing from the household budget.
Purchases and household items can hide substantial value
Cash and liquid capital are often highly sought after in a divorce, so clever people who want to hide money from their spouses may not retain secret assets in the form of money. Instead, they may spend your shared, marital assets on purchases that retain their value.
Art, jewelry and other expensive items can hold substantial value financially speaking while also holding minimal appeal to you as physical items. Your spouse may count on you not wanting your share of those assets in the divorce as a means of walking away from it with more than their fair share.
Giving away or selling possessions is also a common tactic
Sometimes, instead of hiding assets around your house or in secret accounts, your spouse will seem to get rid of valuable assets or possessions. They may give away these items to friends or family. Alternatively, they might sell the items for a tiny fraction of their actual worth.
They do this with the intention of reclaiming the items after divorce, thereby depriving you of your fair share of the value of those assets. If you suspect hidden assets, or an intentional dissipation or wasting of marital funds, to reduce what you receive in the divorce, you may be able to ask the court to consider that issue when they split your assets up.