Five Ways a Dishonest Spouse can Hide Assets
In every divorce, the couple’s marital assets and debts must be divided between them. In Michigan, divorcing couples’ marital assets are divided between them by using the doctrine of equitable distribution, which means that they are divided according to the individual partners’ specific needs, rather than splitting the marital estate in half.
The court can only divide assets it knows about. With this in mind, some individuals attempt to hide assets from their spouses and the court in an effort to cheat their spouses out of a fair share of the assets. There are many different ways to do this. Five are listed below. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets from you, work with your lawyer to find the assets and ensure that they are divided appropriately.
Large Cash Purchases
Cash purchases cannot be traced like credit card and electronic purchases can, which makes it easy to hide money by using it to make cash purchases. A few ways an individual might use a cash purchase to funnel money out of a marital account include:
- Buying a car;
- Buying office furniture or fixtures in cash, items that his or her spouse are not likely to see;
- Buying valuable items, like jewelry and metals, in cash; and
- Simply withdrawing cash from marital accounts little by little, and keeping the stash hidden in a safe.
Transferring Money to Friends’ and Relatives’ Accounts
A simple way a dishonest spouse might attempt to hide money is to move it into a friend or relative’s account, such as his or her child’s savings account.
Another way an individual can divert funds from the marital estate, which is essentially the same as hiding assets, is to delay bonuses and commissions until after the divorce is finalized.
In some cases, an individual hides assets by moving money into a secret account he or she owns, rather than an account held by a friend or relative. By failing to report this account for the divorce, the individual can keep the money from being divided.
Using a Small Business to Hide Assets
When one spouse is a small business owner, he or she can use the business to hide assets. There are a lot of ways to do this with a business, and a dishonest business owner might employ one or more of them to keep assets away from his or her spouse. Methods include:
- Paying fictional employees and vendors;
- Making purchases for the business with marital funds; and
- Claiming losses for the business when in fact, the business is profitable.
Work with an Experienced Grand Rapids Divorce Lawyer
If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets in an attempt to keep them from being divided in your divorce, talk to an experienced divorce lawyer about it now to determine the right solution and ensure that you receive your fair share of your marital assets. Contact The Van Den Heuvel Law Office today to set up your legal consultation with us.