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4 ways spouses hide assets in divorces

It's not uncommon for spouses to employ many tricks to hide assets from one another during divorce proceedings. This practice is unlawful, however, and courts frown upon it.

If you suspect your spouse is hiding assets from you, it's important to get to the bottom of it immediately.

Where to look for hidden assets during a divorce

Here are a few things spouses do to hide assets in a divorce:

Opening secret accounts: It's not uncommon for a spouse to squirrel away cash over time. Often, spouses will start to hide this cash in a secret safety deposit box after opening a separate bank account at a new bank that you don't know about. A spouse, for example, might do this years before an actual divorce after deciding that he or she wants a divorce but not being ready to actually pull the trigger.

Understating the value of assets: Imagine you and your spouse purchased an expensive painting years ago, and now that painting has increased in value 400 percent. Maybe you didn't know about the increase in value, so your spouse attempts to pull the wool over your eyes by understating the value of the painting as if it maintained its original purchase price.

Overstating debts: Spouses might try to claim that the level of certain debts is much higher than they actually are. By overstating debts, it will entitle the spouses to a higher percentage of the marital estate.

Reporting lower income amounts: Certain spouses might have their own businesses or engage in another kind of profession in which it's easy to hide income, or simply to disguise it as something else through a trick of accounting. By making it appear that he or she earns less, the spouse can receive more money -- or pay out less -- in the divorce settlement.

Reporting higher expenses: This is one way for business owners to make it appear like they're not earning very much money. Perhaps the business owner reports that he or she is employing an employee who doesn't exist. The money paid to this employee could end up in a safety deposit box somewhere.

Honest spouses: The law is on your side

Georgia family law courts will often punish a dishonest spouse who is hiding assets by awarding more of the marital estate to the honest spouse. As such, be sure to speak up if you suspect that your spouse is hiding money from you. The law will surely be on your side in this matter.

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