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Anyone contemplating a divorce should be aware that hiding assets or money from a spouse is actually (sadly) quite common. About 12 million Americans admit to hiding money from their partners, effectively committing “financial infidelity,” according to creditcards.com. There are even online instructions for concealing assets, including an article entitled “How to Hide Money From Your Spouse: A Sneaky, Step-by Step Guide.”
So it should come as no surprise that spouses often secretly conceal assets before or during divorce. But being aware of the surreptitious methods your soon-to-be-ex could be using to hide money, property or other valuable assets from you is key to obtaining your fair share of marital property when the divorce is said and done. Furthermore, courts in New York State have been known to award the spurned spouse an amount equal to that—or more—which the “cheating” spouse may have concealed before or during the divorce.
Assets can be hidden in a variety of ways, including the following:
Financial red flags
A knowledgeable divorce attorney can help determine whether your spouse may be squirreling away assets behind your back by looking at his or her past actions to determine the possibility. For example:
When the spouse is self-employed, there are additional clues that may indicate financial infidelity. For example:
During divorce proceedings, your divorce attorney may be able to uncover even more red flags that could indicate your spouse is hiding assets. For example:
Recover hidden assets
If you suspect that your spouse is hiding assets from you, a knowledgeable divorce attorney may be able to help you find what is rightfully yours by subpoenaing bank and money market accounts and conducting a range of other discovery measures including retaining the assistance of a forensic accountant. Once all of the marital property has been identified, each asset will then be classified as either “marital” or “separate” property.
“Equitable distribution” is the means by which New York distributes marital property in a divorce. In a New York divorce, absent some other form of agreement, spouses keep their separate property and the marital property is equitably divided. Equitable division does not mean equal, but fair.
To ensure you get your fair share of marital assets, contact a divorce attorney who may be able to discover and recover that which your sneaky spouse may have attempted to conceal from you and to which you are rightfully entitled.
Mario D. Cometti, Esq. is a Partner at Tully Rinckey PLLC in Albany, N.Y. Mr. Cometti focuses his practice on family and matrimonial law, as well as civil and commercial litigation and has represented hundreds of individuals and companies in a wide range of matters, including personal injury lawsuits.