Through the years, I’ve seen divorcing couples pull all kinds of tricks to gain a financial advantage in the outcome of the divorce.
Sometimes, people tell me, “I’m worried that the other person will empty out the bank account.” But then, in order to avoid being left without funds, they empty out the account themselves first... essentially doing to the other person what they were worried would happen to them.
(I do not encourage or even support my clients doing this. If anything, take half and leave half, so your spouse isn’t in the same position that you wanted to avoid for yourself. Colorado law requires that as part of any divorce, documents must be filled out to disclose all assets. Therefore, you are obligated to disclose these funds and taking the funds will not avoid their being dealt with in the divorce.)
Here are some common ways that people move and/or “hide” assets during a divorce case.
How Spouses Hide Money
The most common way for someone to move and hide money before a divorce is this: they’ll open a new account under their name without telling the other side. They then deposit funds in this new account. Sometimes, it’s a substantial amount, like if they took everything from the joint account. Sometimes, it’s less when people, over time, deposit lesser amounts in this new account.
Again, draining the account, even if the other side knew about it, would mean the other side wouldn’t have access to it, potentially giving the Court a reason to have a negative impression of you.
Perhaps a more clever (or malicious) way that people move and hide money is to drain an account and then say, “Oh, I went to Vegas and I lost it at a blackjack table.” Or, “Oh, I gave it to my brother and now it’s gone.”
What to do if Your Spouse is Hiding Money
So, what can you do if you suspect your soon-to-be-former spouse is hiding money? Or if you think that they took money from a shared account?
Sometimes hiring a forensic accountant is an effective way to find the money (which your spouse is legally obligated to disclose to the Court). If that doesn’t work, you can possibly hire a private investigator to determine if there are undisclosed assets.
Either way, the best thing you can do to protect yourself is to hire an experienced divorce attorney to represent you in the case. A seasoned attorney will be able to spot red flags, take the correct legal action to discover where or how your spouse has hidden money, and get you the best possible settlement for your case.If you’re considering a legal separation or divorce, call us at 303-449-1873 to set up a free consultation.