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Divorce gets messy if a spouse is hiding assets

On Behalf of | Jul 25, 2023 | Divorce

When a South Dakota judge makes property division decisions, the primary goal is to ensure that both spouses are getting a fair share of marital assets. They must also split any debt they incurred during marriage. When the two parties involved get along well enough to engage in productive discussions, settling a divorce does not take long. On the other hand, if a spouse is hiding assets, it makes everything complicated and causes significant delays.

South Dakota divorce laws require full disclosure from both spouses. Trying to hide assets means that a person is trying to deceive the court, which won’t sit well with the judge when the court uncovers the scheme. To bring a hidden asset scheme to a screeching halt, one must know where to look.

Where do spouses hide assets in a divorce?

To find out where you should look for hidden assets in a divorce, you can review information online that tells people how to carry out such schemes. One of the most common hidden asset tricks is to overpay the IRS on tax returns. When an overpayment occurs, it’s like putting money in the bank that becomes available as a refund the following year.

The following list shows several other ways that your spouse might be hiding assets to gain the upper hand in property division proceedings:

  • Purchasing pre-paid gift cards
  • Delaying pay raise or incentive bonus at work
  • Giving money to a friend or relative to hold and claiming it’s a loan
  • Opening a bank account for a minor
  • Hiding cash in a safe deposit box
  • Asking for cash back at the point of purchase when using a credit card

If you notice money missing from your jointly owned bank account, you might want to ask your spouse about it. If you’re met with anger or a defensive attitude, it suggests that you might be on to something.

Enlisting outside support to blow a hidden asset scheme wide open

A financial forensics investigator can be helpful when you are trying to gather evidence to convince the court that your spouse is hiding assets in a divorce. Such an investigator specializes in tracking expenditures and financial transactions. The more evidence you can find, the better.

The court will expect you to support your allegations by presenting evidence to prove that your spouse has stashed cash, under-reported income or under-valued a big-ticket purchase, etc. If the judge rules in your favor, the court may hold your ex in contempt.