Hiding assets in divorce is illegal: Is your spouse doing it?

When you decided to file for divorce in a Missouri court, you knew it would spark many changes in your life as well as your children’s lives. You  AdobeStock_217569605_sm-300x200 - Grant, Miller & Smith, LLCmay have also suspected that your spouse wasn’t going to take the news well. Perhaps your relationship is already contentious, and you were worried that your spouse would be angry when you announced your decision.

Navigating a divorce where your spouse is out to get revenge or is determined to make things difficult for you is stressful. One of the most common ways spouses try to get back at their partners is to attempt to hide assets during property division proceedings. Is there money missing from your jointly owned bank account? Does your spouse get defensive or confrontational if you ask about a financial issue?

These are often signs of a hidden asset problem

If you go to the bank and learn that your spouse withdrew money without your knowledge, your first instinct might be to inquire about it. When you ask where the money went and your spouse acts angry that you are questioning it, it might be a red flag that you have a hidden asset problem on your hands.

Maybe your spouse has recently given a large amount of cash to a relative or friend. When you inquired about it, your spouse may have explained it by saying it was a loan or payback for a loan. While that might sound logical, if you did not know that someone loaned your spouse money or that a family member or friend was in need of money, there might be more to the story that he or she is telling you.

Where to look to uncover hidden assets

When is the last time you carefully reviewed your income tax forms or credit card statement? If you suspect your spouse is attempting to hide assets in divorce, you might want to obtain those documents as soon as possible. Many Missouri spouses hide assets by overpaying on their taxes or a credit card balance.

You might also want to pay close attention to other issues as well. Has your spouse opened an account for a minor in your household? Did he or she change all the passwords on your online financial accounts? These are signs that warrant further investigation if your think your spouse is trying to gain the upper hand in property division proceedings.

Full disclosure is part of the rules

To achieve a fair settlement in divorce, you and your spouse both must use full disclosure to list all assets and liabilities. The court does not look favorably on someone who tries to beat the system. Hiding assets in divorce is illegal.

Missouri is an equitable property state

In this state, the court follows equitable property guidelines in divorce. This means the judge overseeing your case will determine a fair division of marital property, although the split may not necessarily be 50/50.

If you suspect your spouse is trying to keep you from getting all that you’re entitled to, you have the right to reach out for additional support to help you promptly investigate the matter. The court can intervene to bring a hidden asset scheme to a halt.

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