As you and your spouse begin contemplating a Florida divorce, you may have the uneasy feeling that (s)he is attempting to hide marital assets from you so as to obtain a better financial position for himself or herself in your property settlement negotiations. Your suspicions likely are greater if the two of you are a high-asset couple.
Spousal asset hiding represents a not uncommon practice. Greedy and/or vindictive spouses often engage in this form of financial fraud.
Financial fraud indications
If your spouse truly is attempting to hide marital assets from you, you likely will notice one or more of the following red flags:
- (S)he stops confiding in you.
- (S)he changes his or her habitual behaviors.
- (S)he receives snail mail from people or companies with which you are unfamiliar.
- Alternatively, (s)he stops receiving snail mail at your house, having redirected it to his or her office or other address.
- (S)he begins getting mysterious phone calls during which his or her part of the conversation is short or cryptic.
- You discover that (s)he has a secret paramour.
Financial fraud accomplices
Few spouses hide assets on their own; they need accomplices to assist them. If your spouse comes from a large family or has a wide circle of friends and/or business associates, (s)he could be lying to them about you so as to gain their support and cooperation in asset-hiding endeavors. Obviously, if you have discovered a secret paramour, this person poses your spouse’s most likely accomplice.
Unfortunately, if your spouse wants to hide marital assets from you, (s)he has plenty of choices when it comes to where to hide them, including the following:
- Cash loans or gifts to accomplices and/or deposits into their bank accounts
- Secret bank accounts and/or safe deposit boxes of his or her own
- Online brokerage and/or bank accounts
- Deferred bonus, commission or other compensation accounts at work
Finding and tracking such hidden assets can become a highly challenging endeavor. You may wish to consider adding a forensic accountant to your legal team.