Financial infidelity is a big problem in many high-net-worth marriages. Sometimes these problems spill right over into a New York courtroom if a couple decides to divorce. Financial deceit during divorce proceedings typically comes in the form of hidden assets.
It’s nice to want to think the best of a soon-to-be ex-spouse. However, it won’t be so nice down the line to get the short end of the stick in property division proceedings because of a hidden asset scheme. It’s best to investigate further when suspicions arise regarding assets.
Issues that suggest a spouse is hiding assets
New York laws require full disclosure regarding assets and liabilities in a divorce. Nevertheless, there are numerous situations that could raise concerns about a possible hidden asset scheme:
- Has a spouse been moving money around, withdrawing funds from a joint account without the other spouse’s knowledge and depositing them into a privately owned account?
- Are luxury items missing from the home or a safe-deposit vault, such as pieces from an art or jewelry collection?
- If the couple owns a business, have new names been added to the payroll, especially if the spouse concerned hasn’t met any new employees?
- Has a spouse given a large sum of money to a third party, claiming that it is a loan or repayment for a debt that was owed?
- Does one spouse suspect the other of having an affair?
Even one of the issues might mean that a spouse is trying to stash cash or hide assets before property division proceedings begin in a divorce. If more than one issue is relevant, it would be wise to further investigate the situation.
What will a judge do about a hidden asset scheme?
The New York judge overseeing a divorce will undoubtedly not look favorably on a spouse who is hiding assets. This is unacceptable behavior because it is a form of perjury, and perhaps outright fraud. If the court determines that a spouse has disregarded disclosure requirements, the judge might hold the individual in contempt of court and consider awarding all or most of the hidden asset to the other spouse.