Your marriage is a partnership between you and your spouse, with each of you contributing to the marital estate. If you are thinking about ending your marriage, though, you want to be sure you receive what is rightfully yours. Unfortunately, your soon-to-be ex-spouse may have different ideas.
In Pennsylvania, judges divide marital assets based upon what is equitable for each spouse. This approach entitles you to a fair share of marital wealth. Still, you can only receive a reasonable percentage of the marital estate if you know assets exist. If your spouse hides assets, you may receive far less than your fair share.
Each spouse’s legal obligation
Under state law, divorcing individuals have a legal obligation to be forthcoming about marital wealth. The consequences of violating this obligation are potentially severe. For example, if your partner hides assets, upon uncovering the deception a judge may award the assets to you. Furthermore, a judge may order your partner to pay the costs associated with locating the assets.
Common ways to hide assets
Every marriage is unique. Still, if a spouse wants to hide assets, he or she usually engages in certain behaviors. These may include one or more of the following:
- Making cash withdrawals, as cash can be difficult to track
- Lending money to friends, family members or business associates
- Buying extravagant items or adding to a personal collection
- Overpaying taxes with hopes of commandeering a future refund
- Deferring bonuses or other in-kind payments
Some strategies for finding missing marital property
If your husband or wife handles marital finances, you may be particularly vulnerable. Fortunately, there are ways to find hidden marital property during divorce proceedings. Carefully examining bank statements is often an effective strategy. Nevertheless, you may need the assistance of a forensic accountant to locate hard-to-find assets.
Your post-divorce financial future may depend on the assets you receive during your divorce. If you suspect your partner is trying to deceive you, you likely must act both quickly and diligently to protect your financial interests.