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3 indicators of asset concealment during a divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 17, 2024 | Family Law |

As an equitable distribution state, Florida follows a policy of dividing marital assets (those accumulated or mingled during a marriage) based on fairness rather than equality while leaving separate property (assets one spouse came into the divorce with or gifts given to only one spouse) alone. To do an equitable split, judges need a complete and accurate picture of the couple’s financial state.

Some individuals try to receive more than their fair share by concealing assets. They may do so through a variety of methods, from stashing funds in offshore accounts to gifting large amounts of money or valuable property to close friends and family members with the expectation that they will get them back after proceedings conclude. Certain signs indicate the possibility of asset concealment.

1. Unexplained shifts in financial behavior

A major red flag is when one spouse suddenly changes how he or she manages finances. For example, if he or she was previously not a big spender but recently started to buy more expensive items or splurge on luxuries, it may indicate an attempt to make it appear to the court that he or she does not have a lot of money. Sudden changes in investing habits (emptying accounts or switching ones used, or purchasing cryptocurrency without prior interest) or business dealings may also suggest a spouse is trying to conceal assets.

2. Tax mistakes

Another concerning sign is making large errors when paying taxes. One tactic used to hide true financial status is to overpay taxes. This decreases the amount of money a spouse has on paper, but he or she gets it back as a tax refund the next year. While a little overpayment is not necessarily a red flag, a large one may be.

3. Lost documentation

Courts need any paperwork that grants insight into a couple’s economic situation. If documents or computer files go missing, it may be a sign of deliberate concealment.

When one spouse tries to conceal assets or obscure his or her financial state, he or she cheats the other. Individuals who suspect their spouses of such behavior may need to report it to the court, which can investigate with the help of forensic accountants.


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