Hiding marital property is not uncommon during a divorce, and there are red flags that spouses should be on the lookout for.
The breakup of a marriage is never easy and it can get even harder for people in Taunton when the time arrives to split up the money and assets.
According to Massachusetts law, marital property is subject to an equitable process. This means a spouse could receive part, all or none of the marital assets, depending on certain factors. For example, a spouse who is the primary caregiver of the children could receive the marital home, retirement benefits, insurance properties, funds, investments or other assets while the other spouse is awarded a small portion of the marital property.
The potential for losing control over property that a person has become accustomed to may influence that person to hide it from the other spouse and the court. Therefore it is important for people to be aware of the red flags that their ex is trying to deceive them.
Control of finances
A spouse who has control of the marital finances may be tempted to hide money. According to Forbes, these spouses may refuse to provide any information relating to money, keep separate bank accounts in their name, refuse to hand over passwords to online banking accounts, and set up a private mail drop box or post office to receive billing and account statements.
Sometimes spouses will try to hide money by purchasing a rare vehicle, an expensive watch, art pieces or even real estate. The purpose behind the purchases is to negotiate for the items in the divorce and then sell them for a profit once the divorce is finalized. The spouse may also try to buy high priced items for family members as 'gifts' which will then revert back to the spouse's ownership afterwards.
If one of the spouses owns a business, it is not uncommon for the spouse to suddenly announce that the business' revenue and value has decreased. Working spouses may claim that they have been demoted, that their pay has been cut, or they didn't receive a bonus. Spouses with investments may try to declare that the investments have lost value.
However, the other spouses can investigate these claims by using a financial professional, obtaining tax records and getting their own team to evaluate the true market value of the items.
Financial data disappears
In a divorce, spouses should request financial records and reports from their ex. If an ex claims that an account keeping program has accidently been deleted, that files cannot suddenly be located, or that the program has malfunctioned, chances are that the spouse is trying to hide financial information.
Hiding marital property during a divorce can come with severe penalties, including criminal charges. Despite these consequences, Forbes states that in the U.S., lying about finances to a partner or spouse has been admitted by 31 percent of adults in one study. People in Taunton who suspect their spouse is not being truthful about marital property should consult with an experienced lawyer.