Financial issues are one of the leading causes of divorce across the United States, so it should come as no surprise that many people attempt to hide their financial assets from their partner in the divorce process. This is known as asset concealment and, in this post, we’re going to take a look at a few of the most common signs that your spouse is hiding assets.
If you’re considering filing for divorce or you’re currently in the process, hiring a divorce attorney can help you spot asset concealment and ensure that your interests are represented as you work toward a fair and equitable settlement. Contact the divorce attorneys at Fairell Roy & Associates to learn more, and read on to learn more about property division and asset concealment in Georgia.
How Is Property Divided in Georgia?
Before we discuss the ways in which assets can be hidden, we need to discuss how property is divided under Georgia law.
Georgia law typically returns separate property to its original owner and focuses on the equitable distribution of shared assets that were purchased during the marriage. Separate property includes anything that was purchased prior to the marriage, but it does not include items that were purchased during the marriage under only one spouse’s name. In most cases, anything purchased or obtained during the marriage will be considered marital property.
Once you’ve determined separate and marital property, the latter will be divided according to a principle of equitable distribution. In contrast to equal distribution, equitable distribution could mean that one spouse receives 60% of the marital property, 30%, or whatever the court deems to be equitable for both parties.
Signs of Asset Concealment
It’s an unfortunate reality that many spouses attempt to alter the assets they receive by resorting to dishonest tactics. It’s even more unfortunate that because inventorying marital assets can be incredibly time-consuming, it often goes unnoticed.
Watch for these five red flags as you take stock of your assets:
Sudden Financial Hardship
Many spouses conveniently fall on hard times during their divorce. Divorce is a trying time in many people’s lives, to be sure, but significant stock losses or a sudden loss of income are both causes for concern. This is especially true if the spouse continues spending and living their life as they normally would.
Hidden bank and credit card accounts can be difficult to find if you aren’t looking for them. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re impossible to find. In some cases, paper statements are sent to the shared residence and reveal hidden spending. In other cases, you may be able to discover hidden accounts by looking for recently purchased items that do not appear on shared or individual accounts, provided that you have access to both. If you don’t, you may be able to subpoena them with the help of a divorce attorney.
Is your spouse suddenly purchasing antique jewelry, art, and other odd items that they had no previous interest in purchasing? If so, they may be trying to lower their net worth by putting their money into items that can be appraised for a low price and then resold after the divorce.
If your spouse’s monthly income is suddenly reduced, overpaying the IRS may be to blame. In some divorces, one spouse will elect to have the IRS withhold a significant portion of their earnings and request a refund once the divorce has been finalized. Just as you may be able to subpoena bank records, you may be able to subpoena pay stubs and tax information with the help of a divorce attorney.
Transfers to Family and Friends
If you notice funds from your shared assets being transferred to accounts you don’t recognize, your spouse may be trying to offload your shared assets to a third party they trust. Although it may sound easy enough to spot, it may be done in small increments across numerous accounts that look perfectly routine.
Contact an Atlanta Divorce Attorney
We hope that this post will help you protect yourself from asset concealment in your divorce. We understand that these signs are not always straightforward to find on your own, and we invite you to contact Fairell Roy & Associates if you would like to speak to an Atlanta divorce attorney about asset division in your divorce.