Hidden Assets

Hidden Assets

During a Georgia divorce, parties divide marital property. Unfortunately, some people may try to hide assets to avoid property division. Understanding how your spouse might try to conceal assets could help you identify marital property that should be equitably divided.

Ways Spouses Hide Assets During Georgia Divorce Cases

Your spouse might use creative ways to hide assets. Common ways people conceal property from their partners include:

  • Placing money in accounts in the children’s names
  • Titling assets in a trust name
  • Making payments to a family member or friend for a fraudulent loan (i.e., the person holds the money until after the divorce is finalized)
  • Giving expensive gifts to family and friends to hold for them until after the divorce
  • Creating expenses or bills that do not exist
  • Hiding money in a business, such as paying employees who don’t exist, understating the value of business assets, etc.
  • Overpaying withholding and taxes to receive a larger tax refund
  • Concealing digital assets
  • Deferring income, including raises, commissions, bonuses, etc.
  • Transferring assets to offshore accounts
  • Investing in property in another state or country
  • Titling assets in the name of a friend or family member
  • Withdrawing small amounts of money over time from several accounts
  • Opening a safe deposit box and new accounts in the spouse’s name only
  • Renting a post office box to change the mailing address for bills, statements, and other financial records

Being involved in your family’s finances is one of the best ways to prevent your spouse from hiding assets during a divorce. When you understand the income and expenses for the entire household and the assets you and your spouse own, it is more difficult for them to conceal property. However, even the most involved spouse may not notice some hidden assets.

Steps to Locate Hidden Assets During a Divorce

If you suspect that your spouse may be hiding assets to avoid dividing them in a divorce, notify your Lawrenceville divorce lawyer immediately. 

Steps you and your attorney can take to find hidden assets include:

Hire Experts to Search for Hidden Assets

Your divorce lawyer may hire a private investigator, forensic accountant, business evaluator, and other experts to assist in the search for concealed assets. Experts have the skills and tools for locating property that might be carefully concealed.

Gather Financial Information

As soon as possible, make copies of all financial records, including bank statements, credit card bills, retirement accounts, investments, insurance policies, etc. Also, copy titles, registrations, deeds, and other proof of ownership. Provide these copies to your attorney’s office.

Monitor Activity in Financial Accounts

It is wise to check financial accounts for activity even when you and your spouse aren’t having marital problems. However, pay close attention to all financial accounts at the first sign of stress in your marriage.

Review cleared checks, debits, and credit card charges. Any deviations from the regular activity in the accounts and cash flow for the household could indicate your spouse is hiding assets.

Use Discovery Tools in Your Divorce Case

When you file a divorce petition, disputes are litigated in the family court. If spouses cannot agree on how to divide assets, the judge decides for them.

Discovery is an aspect of a divorce action. Parties use discovery to gather evidence and information. 

Your Lawrenceville divorce attorney may use one or more of the following discovery tools to search for hidden assets:

  • Depositions – A deposition is oral testimony outside of a courtroom that is given under oath. Your attorney can depose your spouse, friends, family, and other interested parties who may have information about hidden assets.
  • Interrogatories – Your spouse must answer a list of questions under oath. The questions can ask about specific property or assets in general.
  • Requests to Produce – Your attorney can give your spouse a list of documents you want copies of, such as all titles, deeds, registrations, and proof of ownership. 
  • Subpoenas – A subpoena orders another party to appear to provide testimony. Subpoenas may also require a party to produce documents in their possession related to the case, including records of hidden assets.

Discovery is a powerful tool used in litigated divorces. However, a spouse may lie in their discovery responses, even though they are responding under the penalty of perjury.

How Are Assets Divided in a Georgia Divorce Case?

Georgia uses equitable division to divide property during a divorce. “Equitable” does not always mean equal. Therefore, a judge could divide assets in any percentage. 

Factors a judge uses to determine what is fair for property division include:

  • The length of the marriage
  • Each spouse’s financial needs, income, and resources
  • The age, general health, earning potential, and education of each spouse
  • A spouse’s conduct during the marriage
  • The contributions of each spouse to the marriage, including financial support, services, and skills
  • The separate property each spouse owns
  • Tax consequences of a property division agreement
  • Whether a prenuptial or postnuptial agreement is in place

Georgia property division cases can be complicated. Many issues could impact the final division of marital assets. Contact a Lawrenceville divorce lawyer for a free consultation to learn more about dividing assets and other matters.

Finding an Attorney You Can Trust

Contact Crystal Wright Law today for a free consultation at 404-594-2143 to see how we can help you.

You can also visit our law firm at 440 S. Perry Street Suite 105, Lawrenceville, GA 30046.

Visit Our Divorce & Family Law Office in Lawrenceville, GA

Crystal Wright Law
440 S. Perry Street Suite 105, Lawrenceville, GA 30046
(404) 594-2143

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