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Common ways spouses hide assets in divorce

Whenever there are significant assets involved in divorce, there is the possibility that one spouse or the other may attempt to preempt having to equitably divide some of them by hiding or otherwise dispersing assets so that they are difficult to identify. While divorce is rarely an easy matter, this kind of dishonesty is a certain path for turning any divorce proceedings into a more complicated experience. Familiarizing yourself with these common ways a spouse may attempt to hide assets will help ensure your divorce is resolved more fairly in the long run.

While it may seem too obvious, many spouses will physically hide assets in a safe deposit box or some other lockable container, often somewhere within the home. These are often the easiest assets to find and identify.

Many times, a spouse will attempt to obfuscate what their actual earnings are through underreporting income on financial statements or tax returns. Similarly, a spouse may choose to overpay creditors or overpay on returns to the Internal Revenue Service. In these scenarios, a spouse is counting on being able to obtain some form of refund later on, after the divorce is finalized and you are unable to touch those assets.

In some cases, a spouse may choose to have his or her salary deferred or request that an employer withhold bonuses or commissions that have already been earned in order to reduce the assets that must be divided. A spouse may even delay signing a contract that would entail an asset increase during divorce proceedings, which can keep those assets from being valued properly.

While these are not the only ways a spouse may attempt to hide assets that should be equitably divided in divorce, they are some of the most common methods to do so. An experienced legal professional can help you find and properly assess all the assets to which you are entitled, protecting your rights and ensuring a fair divorce process.

Source:, "Divorcing Women: Here's Where Husbands Typically Hide Assets," Jeff Landers, accessed July 07, 2016

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