By all accounts, it’s surprisingly common for men to hide assets from their wives. In the complex world of today’s finances—with portfolios consisting of homes, rentals and vacation properties, as well as stock options, 401ks and pension plans, life insurance plans and business ownership—it may not even be that difficult to hide assets from you. But during divorce, it is illegal.
Like you, your husband is required to disclose all assets during the discovery process. You are declaring under oath that the information submitted is accurate. Lying, understating or omitting assets is considered contempt of court and perjury.
Consequences of getting caught
Consequences of getting caught can vary from state to state and case to case. If your husband is found to be hiding assets, the judge has a number of remedies at his or her discretion:
- Jail time
- Requiring him to pay your attorney fees
- Awarding the entirety of the hidden assets to you
How to uncover his hidden assets
We know that men can take advantage and hide assets during the divorce. There are steps you can take to ensure the entirety of his assets are accounted for:
- Hire an experienced attorney: Experienced counsel will often conduct a lifestyle analysis to understand the true picture of your standard of living during marriage. From this, they can determine if there are discrepancies pointing to hidden assets.
- Look for a change of address: If your financial statements are no longer being mailed to your home, that could be a tipoff to his asset hiding.
- Look for overpayments: He might be paying more this year to save on next year’s taxes or getting a refund after the divorce.
- Look for changes in compensation: Your husband may defer commissions, bonuses and salary until after the divorce.
- Look at his business. When your husband owns a business, he can get creative with expenses to make it appear like the company is struggling. From his point of view, the less the business is worth, the less you will get in the divorce.
- Look for loans: Your husband may have made a straight loan or transferred money to a friend’s account. After the divorce, the money will be returned.
- Look for defensive behavior: If your husband is now defensive, secretive and controlling when it comes to finances, this is a significant red flag.
The important thing to remember is that it’s your money too. With diligence and your attorney’s assistance, you can help ensure you’re receiving what the law owes you.