Hidden wealth and divorce

If a less than amicable divorce is on the cards then it is not uncommon for one party to start hiding wealth. Someone may start doing this years in advance in anticipation of a divorce in the future, when they realise that their marriage isn’t going to last forever. Anything from off-shore bank accounts to under-valuing possessions happens regularly in divorce courts.

However, hiding money and lying in court is illegal and it can and will land you a jail sentence. Not only this but it prolongs the entire experience and makes it more expensive for your spouse and for you.

Unfortunately if you suspect that your spouse is lying about their wealth then the courts won’t do anything unless you initiate it. You won’t get everything that is owed to you unless you have a full understanding of your partner’s finances.

If your partner has always been in control of the money then it will be harder for you to get to grips with the truth. This is especially true if they have their own business or are involved with a company at a high level. Bonuses and extra payments in kind are more common in these situations. You could be in for some shocks as the situation becomes more clear.

There are a few other common situations in which people can hide wealth from their other halves. Hobbies that involve collectable items or vintage cars can look like junk but actually have a very high value. It is not unheard of for a lawyer representing the client to value collections as nominal and then for the other side to conduct further investigations and realise that the collection is worth tens of thousands or even more.

In order to ensure you get a fair deal from the divorce settlement your family lawyer must carry out a full financial forensic investigation into your spouse and to also value any items of interest or any collections that you are unsure of. It is amazing the amount that some antiques or vintage cars can be worth even if they do not look particularly valuable.

The likelihood is that nothing untoward will be uncovered by investigations but if you don’t have the investigations carried out you will never be sure that your spouse is telling the truth about their finances in order to protect their own interest.

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