You might look back on that day in a Virginia church or courthouse when you said “I do” and married the man or woman who then became your spouse. Perhaps you fondly recall that time in your life and never would have predicted that your marriage would not last a lifetime. Now, however, many years later, you’ve filed for divorce and are worried that your soon-to-be ex is trying to hide assets as you prepare for property division proceedings.
It should be duly noted that hiding assets in a divorce is unlawful. If your spouse lies to the judge overseeing your case, then he or she will commit perjury. It’s not always easy to uncover a hidden asset scheme; however, it helps if you know where to look.
Are there new employees on the payroll?
If you and your spouse own a business together, it’s possible that assets are being hidden“right under your nose.” A common trick among spouses who own businesses is to add “ghost employees” to the payroll. Such people don’t really exist, but payroll documents will show them receiving income.
If you notice one or more names on the payroll that you do not recognize, it’s a good idea to ask your spouse about it. Especially if you know most or all of the workers in your company and you’ve never met the people whose names suddenly started to appear on the payroll, it might be cause for concern.
Delayed payments are another sign of trouble
If there are clients who owe your company money, and your spouse has allowed them to delay payment, it might be worth further investigation. This type of situation could be particularly troubling if the delayed payment date just happens to be after you expect your divorce to be final.
Perhaps you and your spouse are not business owners but you have come to rely on his or her income to make ends meet. If your spouse has asked an employer to delay pay or to hold on to a bonus, it might be because he or she is hoping to keep the money out of property division proceedings.
Check drawers, under the mattress, closets and more
Some people try to hide assets in a divorce by stashing cash in various locations around the house. If your spouse is an avid reader, you might want to check between the pages of books. One could hide money in a chest of drawers, in an attic, garage or basement, or just about anywhere.
You need not try to resolve a hidden asset problem alone
It’s not uncommon for concerned spouses to hire private investigators to help them uncover hidden asset schemes. You can also bring the matter to the court’s attention. A family court judge can hold a person in contempt for trying to beat the system in a divorce.