If you and your spouse have accumulated significant assets during your marriage, the division of your marital property may become a highly contested matter. Understanding what you can do to protect yourself is essential to receiving a fair property settlement, and preventing your spouse from hiding property that should be subject to division.
Giving money/property to friends
This is one of the most common ways that a spouse can try to conceal assets. They make a large "loan" to a friend, or transfer a home or cabin to a relative. This property may not be included in the final discussions regarding property division, but once the divorce is over, the items are returned to your ex-spouse.
Underreporting self-employment income
This happens frequently when couples who own a small business go through a divorce. Your spouse may claim that the amount of money that he or she is earning for performing work is less than actually received. They can attempt to hide profits that would otherwise be subject to division. It may even be necessary to work with forensic accountants in order to determine exactly what sort of funds should be listed, as well as the value of the business.
Spending large sums of money before the divorce
You and your spouse may have joint savings accounts or credit cards. If these accounts are left open while the divorce is pending, it is possible that your soon-to-be-ex may run up large bills on extravagant purchases. What's worse, you could be stuck footing the bill for these expenses if the purchases were made on joint credit cards. This could have a severe impact upon you financially long after the divorce is final.
If you feel that divorce might be likely in your situation, you should contact an experienced attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options. You attorney can provide you with practical advice that helps you obtain a fair and equitable division of your marital property.