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How to stop a hidden asset scheme in divorce

On Behalf of | May 10, 2022 | Divorce |

In a perfect world, Virginia spouses could expect property division proceedings to be swift and amicable, always resulting in a fair settlement. In reality, many spouses are forced to contend with highly stressful circumstances, especially when their former partners are “out to get them” in court. Divorce is never easy; a hidden asset scheme makes it harder than it has to be, for sure.  

No matter what marital issues or events prompted your decision to file for a divorce, you can expect your spouse to “play by the rules” in court, particularly regarding division of marital assets. If you suspect that your ex is hiding assets, you can take immediate steps to investigate and to bring the matter to the court’s attention.  

How to investigate a suspected hidden asset scheme 

You might decide to hire a licensed private investigator to help you uncover a hidden asset scheme. You can also do some investigating on your own, beginning with ruling out some of the means included in the following list, which are common ways that spouses try to hide assets in divorce:  

  • If you and your spouse own a business, you’ll want to take notice of any contracts he or she has purposely delayed in signing. 
  • Are there new names on the payroll that you’re not familiar with, and for which you have not met an employee in person who carries the name? 
  • Has your spouse given money to someone, claiming to be paying back a debt or rendering a loan? 
  • Did your spouse recently open a juvenile bank account for one of your children?  
  • Do you think your spouse has under-valued artwork or other assets during the disclosure process?  
  • You might want to review tax returns and credit card statements to check for overpayments.  

When you enter property division proceedings in a divorce, you and your spouse must be honest in fully disclosing all assets and liabilities. If you suspect that your ex is trying to hide money or assets to which you’re entitled in a settlement, you can bring it to the court’s attention.  

Hiding assets in a divorce is a form of perjury 

If your ex intentionally tries to hide assets in divorce, the Virginia judge overseeing your case can rule him or her in contempt because full disclosure and honesty are required during property division proceedings. Lying to the court is perjury, which is punishable by law.  

Divorce is stressful enough without having to worry that your ex is trying to give you the short end of the stick during property division proceedings. The sooner you investigate or seek outside support to help you bring a hidden asset scheme to a halt, the sooner you’ll be able to protect your assets and achieve a fair settlement.