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Is Your Spouse Hiding Assets During Your Wisconsin Divorce?

 Posted on June 11, 2024 in Divorce

Madison County, WI divorce lawyerAs if divorce were not emotionally stressful enough, if you suspect your spouse is hiding assets, the stress is significantly increased. Along with eight other states, Wisconsin is a community property state. Under community property law, all income, property, and debts acquired during the marriage are divided equally during a divorce.

Equitable distribution states, on the other hand, divide marital property and debts fairly, but not necessarily equally. Wisconsin requires full disclosure of all assets, yet some spouses are determined to take more than their fair share. If you suspect your spouse is not disclosing all marital assets, an experienced divorce attorney can work to locate the assets and then aggressively fight for your half.  

How Common Is Hiding Assets During a Divorce?

The National Endowment for Financial Education analyzed what they termed “financial infidelity,” among U.S. spouses. A staggering 43 percent admitted to committing financial deception, while also stating the deception negatively affected their relationship. Financial deception during a marriage can lead to a breakdown of trust, and even divorce.

Unfortunately, those willing to deceive their spouse during the marriage are also likely to do so during a divorce. Spouses may hide purchases, cash, bills, and even a bank account from their partner. Lying about the money earned or owed is another common way of hiding assets.  Men were found to be more likely than women to commit financial deception during a marriage—and hide assets during a divorce (47 percent vs. 39 percent respectively).   

How Do Spouses Usually Hide Assets?

During a divorce, when emotions are running high, and a high level of antagonism may already exist, a spouse hiding assets adds yet another contentious issue. When one spouse handles all the money, it is easier for him or her to hide assets. Some of the most common ways assets are hidden during a divorce include:

  • Assets are undervalued to lessen their worth on paper

  • Income from a job, business, or rental is under-reported

  • Debts are overstated to reduce the total amount of assets

  • Assets, especially cash, are transferred to a friend or family member to hold until the divorce is final

  • Cryptocurrency is used to make transactions difficult to trace

  • Marital money is spent on a new home for the spouse hiding assets

  • Offshore accounts and shell companies are used to hide marital assets

Hidden assets are deliberately inconspicuous and can be difficult to track down without the help of an experienced lawyer and a forensic accountant.

What Should You Do if You Believe Your Spouse Is Hiding Assets?

If you have not been involved in your marital financial matters, it is time to educate yourself. Gather all relevant financial documents, including tax returns, property records, business records, investment portfolios, bank statements, loan applications, and credit card statements.

If you have noticed any changes in spending patterns, your credit card bills, and bank statements are no longer coming to your home address, or there is less money in your account than there was, these are all red flags. If your spouse has become more controlling or secretive regarding bank accounts or spending, this is another warning sign that he or she may be hiding assets.

Make sure you tell your divorce attorney every detail regarding your suspicions. Your attorney may determine that a forensic accountant or financial investigator could benefit the situation. These are professionals who specialize in uncovering hidden assets and analyzing complex financial records. During discovery, your attorney will ask for financial records.  

Contact a Madison County, WI Divorce Lawyer

A skilled family law attorney can be an invaluable resource when navigating the complexities of uncovering hidden assets. Your Rock County, Wisconsin divorce attorney will ensure you receive your fair share of the marital assets, protecting your rights and future every step of the way. Call John T. Fields & Associates, LLC at 608-729-3590 to schedule your consultation with a highly qualified divorce attorney. You will be glad to have an aggressive advocate during this difficult time.

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