Marriage is a complex legal matter that mingles feelings and finances. When you divorce, these are often the two most contentious points. However, you must keep a clear head and follow the court’s instructions when submitting financial information to proceed with property distribution. Unfortunately, your spouse may not share the same sentiment, which can lead to hiding assets and fraud. Understanding the signs you must look out for is essential, so you’ll want to keep reading. You’ll also learn how a Los Angeles division of assets attorney can help you navigate the financial aspects of your divorce.
How Does Fraud Happen During a Divorce?
Generally, fraud during a divorce occurs when a spouse practices unfair finances because they don’t want to divide the assets in a fair manner. This includes hiding assets, committing tax, insurance, or loan fraud, dissipating assets, or committing forgery.
A common misconception of divorce fraud is that only spouses who are not involved in the finances, such as paying bills or doing taxes, are susceptible to this act. However, this can impact anyone, regardless of how much they are involved with the finances.
What Should I Look Out For?
When you go through a divorce, it’s essential to ensure you keep an eye on your spouse’s behavior, as well as your finances. Red flags include lying about finances, refusing to explain transactions to you, and asking you to sign documents without allowing you to read them. Similarly, if you discover that your spouse has separate accounts they never told you about, is only paying in cash, sends financial statements to a different address, or makes seemingly random transfers, it could be a sign that they are going to try to defraud you.
Also, you may notice that physical assets such as jewelry, paintings, or expensive electronics have seemingly gone missing, which may be a sign that your spouse has hidden them.
What Can I Do if I Find My Spouse Hiding Assets?
If you believe your spouse is hiding assets or committing fraud, it’s essential to let your attorney look at your financial documents. Lawyers specializing in divorces, particularly high net-worth divorces, are familiar with analyzing statements and crunching numbers. They will be able to tell if something is amiss, allowing a forensic accountant to provide a second opinion.
Once it’s confirmed that your spouse is committing fraud, your attorney will be able to help in terms of the legal implications. Not only will this allow you to receive the share of the assets you are entitled to in California, but your spouse may also incur other penalties. A judge may order them to pay your legal fees, grant you higher alimony payments, or in extreme cases, may charge them with criminal fraud.
If you’re going through a divorce, regardless of whether or not you think your spouse is hiding assets, it’s in your best interest to contact an experienced attorney from the Zitser Family Law Group as soon as possible. Our dedicated firm can help you navigate the complexities of divorce to help you protect your assets and transition to the next chapter of your life with as much ease as possible.