Is He Hiding Assets?
According to Forbes contributor Jeff Landers , women who are going through a divorce should ask themselves two very important questions: Is it possible your husband is hiding assets and, if he is, will you be treated fairly in the divorce settlement?
“The burden of proof is often on the spouse with less financial resources (typically the woman) to prove any such unscrupulous behavior. That’s why women must play it smart,” says Landers, who writes for women going through financially complex divorces. “They must become knowledgeable and keep their eyes wide open.”
Keeping your eyes open does not equate to snooping. “Scrolling through your husband’s private emails, listening to his calls or voicemails, or anything of that nature can land you in serious legal trouble, too. (You’ll need to consult with your divorce attorney so you understand precisely what is –and what is not –permissible under the laws in your state.),” Landers cautions.
Landers put together a list of some of the most common things husbands do to hide or undervalue their assets. In an article titled “Divorcing Women: Here’s Where Husbands Typically Hide Assets” on Forbes.com, he says they may:
Defer salary, delay signing new contracts and/or hold commissions or bonuses. This sneaky trick means this income won’t be “on the books” during the divorce proceedings.
Transfer stock. Your husband may transfer stock/investment accounts into the name of family members, business partners or “dummy” companies. After the divorce is final, the assets can be transferred back to him.
Stash money in a safe deposit box, somewhere in the house or elsewhere. Think through your husband’s recent habits and activities. Does anything lead you to believe he is hiding assets in actual cash?
Purchase items that could easily be overlooked or undervalued. Maybe no one will notice that expensive antique/carpet that’s now at his office? Were you wondering why he recently made several significant additions to his coin/stamp/art collection?
Overpay the IRS or creditors. If your husband overpays, he can get the refund later, after the divorce is final.
Set up a custodial account in the name of a child, using the child’s social security number. He could also use his girlfriend’s social security number, in which case it might be difficult to locate the account.
Create phony debt. Your husband can collude with family members and/or friends to establish phony loans or expenses. Then, he can make payments to the family members or friends, knowing that he’ll get all the money back after the divorce is final.
Underreport income on tax returns and/or financial statements. If it’s not reported, it can’t be used in a financial analysis.
“The list goes on and on,” Landers says.
If you have that nagging sense that something is not quite right with your family’s financial picture, there are a number of things you can do. Five Points Private Investigations can discreetly and confidentially take legal steps to determine if your spouse is undervaluing assets, hiding money – maybe even hiding a second home. We can conduct a statewide or nationwide financial asset search, looking for accounts or open trade lines he may not have disclosed. We will also analyze bank account and credit card activity.
If you are considering a divorce, the time to have a financial asset search done is at the beginning of the process. At Five Points Private Investigations, private detectives in Miami, private investigators in Broward County and private investigators in Palm Beach County – and all of them are ready to provide you with the answers you need.