High Net Worth Divorce And Hidden Assets

On behalf of Peterson, Berk & Cross, S.C.

Couples with a high net worth who are facing divorce have a number of particular issues to face that require specialized attention. When a couple shares a substantial asset profile, oftentimes, one spouse will make an effort to secure a majority of the assets in the divorce settlement.

In an attempt to retain assets that the courts would order a couple to divide, one spouse may orchestrate a plan to hide assets. This is a serious breach of trust and is not a legal practice. If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets in your divorce, you should move in a strategic way to prevent losing your fair share of your marital property.

Ways a spouse may hide assets

There are various ways that a spouse may hide assets, but a few common tactics appear in many cases. Sometimes a spouse will simply withdraw money from a joint bank account and then open a new account that the other spouse neither knows about nor has access to. Other, more subtle methods of hiding assets include under-declaring on tax returns and not reporting cash income. Another typical tactic is to delay the payment of any work bonuses, stock options, or raises until after the divorce is final to avoid having to split that income as marital property.

Ways you can take action against hidden assets

One way that you can take action if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets is by asking your family law attorney about the possibility of hiring a forensic accountant. Forensic accountants work with high-net-worth divorce cases to uncover discrepancies in marital accounting, and they have the skills and tools to track down hidden assets. This is critical for your financial future, because the asset portfolio you present to the court needs to be accurate for you to have an equitable settlement.

A judge will make decisions regarding your divorce settlement based on the entire picture of your net worth as a couple. Divorce is a trying time and requires many decisions. You must keep a clear head and an objective approach when dealing with your marital property and finances, so that you can have the best chance of maintaining your current lifestyle even after your divorce.