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What happens if your spouse hides assets during your divorce?

On Behalf of | Dec 28, 2022 | Divorce |

The process of divorcing requires that you address both personal and practical considerations very carefully. Even bringing up the idea of divorce can lead to an intense argument with your spouse, and the actual dissolution process can bring out even more powerful emotions in both partners.

The need to divide your property can be a concerning challenge, especially if the two of you find yourself at odds regarding what would be fair and appropriate. In fact, one spouse may even try to trick or manipulate the other into accepting an unfair outcome to their divorce proceedings.

One spouse hiding marital assets from the other and failing to report them to the courts is a common means of people manipulating the property division process in a Louisiana divorce. What happens if your spouse hides assets?

Property division decisions may not be fair

Although some couples have to litigate because they cannot reach an agreement that both spouses approve of regarding property division, many families settle outside of court and simply present the courts with the terms of their property division agreement.

If your spouse hides property from you, you may not ask for your share of the marital estate. You might willingly sign paperwork that deprives you of your community property interest in thousands of dollars in marital property or income.

Although people can potentially take action against a spouse who hides assets by going back to family court with new evidence, such proceedings can be frustrating and expensive. It is almost always preferable to identify an issue with hidden assets before the end of your divorce.

How do you locate hidden assets?

Some hidden property will be far easier to locate than other assets. For example, a review of the inventory provided by your spouse may make it clear that they did not include any of their personal property, like their collection of first-edition hardbound classic books, some of which are worth thousands of dollars.

When you identify property not included in the inventory or undervalued substantially, you can notify your spouse, your attorney and the courts if necessary about this misrepresentation of your marital estate.

Other times, such as when one party has long moved small amounts of marital income into a private bank account, it may be necessary to bring in a professional, like a forensic accountant, to verify what kind of misconduct to replace and the true financial impact of one spouse’s financial infidelity. Forensic accountants might even be able to find hidden bank accounts and other assets that one spouse did not divulge to the courts or the other partner.

When you understand that hidden assets are a concern and take the appropriate steps to protect yourself, you will have an easier time obtaining an appropriate outcome to the division of your community property in a Louisiana divorce. Locating and claiming all marital assets will be key to securing your fair share of marital property at the end of your relationship.