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Hiding assets: It's mean, and it's illegal

You may be one of many New Jersey spouses who simply can't wait to finalize your divorce so that you can move on in life and leave the past (and your old marital problems) behind. It is sometimes possible to negotiate a swift, fair and satisfactory settlement in an economically feasible manner without any serious obstacles getting in the way.  

However, it is quite common to encounter not one, but numerous challenges during divorce proceedings. If you are a parent, your main concern is the well-being of your children, which entails such issues as custody, visitation and support. You may also have serious concerns regarding your own assets and property division proceedings. If you and your spouse don't get along so well and he or she has made threats (such as taking you for everything you own), you may want to keep a close eye on things.  

Signs of trouble 

While you don't necessarily want to think poorly of your ex, if you really think there might be a hidden asset problem, it is critical that you take swift action to stop it in its tracks. The following list includes some of the most common signs that a spouse is trying to conceal assets that are subject to division:  

  • Custodial bank accounts: If your spouse has suddenly opened bank accounts for one or more of your kids, it may be a covert effort to hide money. 
  • Luxury purchases: Is there new artwork in your house or has your spouse bought other high-end items recently? Purchasing expensive items and then understating their value is a common hidden asset trick. 
  • Money is moving quickly: If you notice an increased amount of financial transactions, such as new investments or relocating funds, it warrants further investigation because your spouse might be trying to cloud the paper trail so it's difficult to locate specific assets. 
  • Bank withdrawals you didn't approve: If you and your spouse still have a joint bank account and you learn that money is missing, you may want to inquire exactly what he or she did with the funds. 
  • Non-existent loan paybacks: If your spouse gives large amounts of money to someone and claims to be paying back a loan that you didn't know took place, it is a definite red flag that you may have a hidden asset problem on your hands. 

It's understandable that you'd be angry and upset if you discover evidence of a possible hidden asset problem. However, the longer you wait to do something about it, the better chance your spouse has of getting away with the scheme. Hiding assets is illegal and the court is not going to look favorably on a spouse who tries to beat the system.

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Law Office of Robert Ricci, Jr.
136 Central Avenue
3rd Floor
Clark, NJ 07066

Phone: 732-587-7051
Fax: 732-815-1102
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