The hiding of assets in a divorce seems like something that only happens if the couple is really rich, as you may have seen in movies and on TV. However, a spouse may try to hide assets in any divorce situation simply because they want more to start their post-divorce life with and/or are angry and trying to get “even” with the other spouse.
In a divorce in New Mexico, both spouses are legally obligated to disclose all of their assets to each other. This is because both spouses are entitled to an equitable division of assets regardless of why the marriage ended, and this can only be achieved once everything financial is on the table and out in the open.
If you believe your spouse may have hidden assets during the marriage or is trying to do so now, tell your family law attorney right away so they can begin an investigation to uncover what your spouse is attempting to conceal. In the meantime, consider three common ways someone may try to use to hide assets during a divorce.
Simply Staying Silent
In many cases, the spouse concealing assets simply “forgets” to tell you or the court that those assets exist. If you have ever had the feeling your spouse wasn’t telling you everything when it came to finances, you may already be in this boat. The court is supposed to account for all the assets each of you own, but it cannot account for assets it is not able to prove exist.
List all of the assets you own and those your spouse owns for your attorney. Do some research and investigation on your own as well, as you may be able to uncover what is missing from your spouse’s financial declaration. If you have access to any financial paperwork, now is the time to gather it and make copies before it vanishes.
Having Untraceable Cash
Cash is an asset that is tough to trace without a bank being involved. If cash is not disclosed, it can be very difficult to locate during a divorce. Don’t be shocked when you don’t find the cash in the family safe, either; cash that is hidden in a divorce often winds up in a safe deposit box somewhere.
Hiding Assets From a Business
A business can own intangible and tangible property. Here, weighing what you know your spouse’s business owns against the company’s tax filing is where to start. Maybe, for example, you thought your spouse’s business only owned one real estate property. However, when you look at the tax return, you see property tax deductions that are bigger than you expected. This could mean the business owns another property or properties you never knew about.
To build your case here, begin to compare what you know they have to what the tax return is indicating. Be sure to share the tax return and any other financial paperwork you are able to locate with your attorney.
Be sure to share everything you find when you look into what your spouse may be hiding with your attorney. The attorney will be able to examine your spouse’s finances further based on the red flags you uncovered, and they can access a team of experts–such as accountants–to help find what else your spouse is trying to keep from you and the court. In order to have a fair division of assets in your divorce, you must know all the assets that are at play, including any your spouse is currently trying to hide from you.