Divorce is a difficult enough process, and any additional complexities can be overwhelming. High-earning couples understand this well as they prepare to divide assets they amalgamated at their union.
When two partners consider dissolving their marriage, one spouse may feel less inclined to split the assets in a fair or respectful way. Hiding assets is a serious offense, and Michigan courts do not treat parties who withhold assets kindly. But how can parties know if their spouse is being deceitful?
Luckily, there are several predictable signs a spouse is attempting to hide assets.
Destroy the accounting
A spouse who does not want to disclose certain assets may delete important accounting software, such as Quickbooks, or claim a computer that contains significant financial records has “suddenly” crashed. They could attempt to remove a hard drive to retrieve the data and “fail.”
Control the banking
A spouse who has complete control of the bank accounts, or who suddenly elects to be responsible for all banking information, could be hiding assets. Any documents that show a spouse has recently opened multiple bank accounts, either personal or business, could indicate an intention to shift funds. Assets are sometimes hidden in new bank accounts that are established in a child or friend’s name.
Spouses who make spontaneous and expensive purchases that can be resold could be hiding their assets in those items, with the intention to return them after a divorce is finalized. They may also pay debt to family and friends, who pay them back post-divorce. In some cases, a spouse reports suffering a mysterious decrease in income, only to continue making the same expenses as before.
If a spouse turns down a promotion which they would have otherwise been eager to receive, they may accept it later and have it back-dated and paid after the divorce. They may also refrain from receiving a commission or bonus, which they postpone until the divorce papers are signed. Spouses who attempt to hide assets sometimes complain constantly about money to avoid suspicion, or they become vague and secretive about finances.
Options during and after a divorce
If a spouse is acting as though they do not intend to fully disclose all financial information, there are options to recover assets that should have been divided, even after a divorce has been finalized. Michigan courts automatically presume that failing to disclose such assets was deliberate and issues penalties against the party. Proving a spouse hid assets can be difficult, but there are many discovery techniques and legal strategies available to uncover the truth.