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Is a hidden asset problem complicating your divorce?

A lot goes into preparing for divorce, even in the most amicable of situations. Like most people in Florida who have navigated or plan to go through divorce, you likely hope that you'll achieve a swift and agreeable settlement. The chances of doing so are often higher for those who are willing to compromise and cooperate in order to negotiate fair and satisfactory terms. It's also a good idea to act alongside experienced guidance throughout the divorce process.

It's not uncommon, however, for everything to be going along smoothly, then you suddenly encounter some unexpected challenge that not only delays settlement but also causes stress. One type of problem that turns otherwise simple divorces into complicated, contentious situations is hidden assets. Do you think your spouse is trying to keep you from getting what's rightfully yours? If so, there are definite steps you can take to nip the problem in the bud. Hiding assets is illegal, so you'll likely want to alert the appropriate authorities as well.

Red flags that signal hidden asset trouble

It's unpleasant to think that someone to whom you were once married would act underhandedly to keep assets from being divided between you in court. Florida is an equitable division state, which means the court determines a fair distribution of assets in divorce, rather than splitting everything 50/50 as in community property states. The following list includes signs that your spouse may be hiding assets:

  • Money moved to individual account: If you and your spouse have always had a joint bank account, and you recently notice withdrawals you did not approve, it may be a sign of hidden asset trouble. If you start noticing statements arriving in the mail for a non-joint account that you were not aware existed, you may want to immediately investigate the situation.
  • Paying back loans you didn't know transpired: It's not uncommon for friends or family members to loan money. However, if your spouse is taking money to pay back loans you didn't know occurred in the first place, it could be a sign that he or she is trying to stash cash until the court finalizes your divorce.
  • Over payments: If your spouse over pays a credit card balance or taxes, it's another signal that something may not be right concerning assets and your upcoming divorce.
  • Over stating expenses on taxes: Not only is this a form of tax fraud, it's also a way many spouses attempt to hide assets in divorce.

It's one thing to suspect your spouse of illegal (and mean spirited) behavior in divorce. It's quite another to gather evidence to confirm your suspicions, then take action against it.

Investigative help available

Florida residents can tap into available resources when they need help tracking down hidden assets. A first logical step may be to ask your spouse about any particular issue causing you concern. If you are not satisfied with the answers you get, you can determine a new course of action.

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