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Las Vegas divorce and property division: hidden assets

Hidden assets are not a major concern in most Nevada divorce cases. There are of critical concern and frequently an issue, however, in high-asset divorce cases that involve complex financial assets.

Although hiding assets in a divorce is illegal and can have severe consequences, spouses are often willing to risk those consequences for various reasons. In some cases, it’s just about the money and the fear of not having enough after the divorce. In others, it’s about “winning” or simply inflicting additional harm on the other spouse.

Should you be concerned? Signs that a spouse may be trying to hide or minimize assets for purposes of the divorce and property division:

  • Large yet not “out-of-the-ordinary” purchases (e.g. artwork for the office, items purchased in connection with a personal hobby such as a stamp collection)
  • Large asset transfers (often to friends, family members, business partners or “fake” corporate entities)
  • A private safe or a personal safe deposit box
  • Underreported income on financial statements or tax returns
  • Overpayments to creditors
  • Deferred salary, bonuses and commissions
  • Sudden debts (i.e., fake debts to friends, family members or business associates — payments recovered after the divorce process has concluded)
  • The existence of custodial or joint bank accounts set up using the Social Security numbers of children or a third person

The more involved you have been in the financial aspects of your married life, the easier it will generally be to identify legitimate red flags. Keep in mind, however, that many of these items only raise the possibility that a spouse is trying to conceal assets — they are not conclusive evidence of guilt.

Since the burden of proving your spouse is hiding assets will be on you in a divorce (and because doing your own detective work could get you into legal trouble), working with a divorce lawyer and, if necessary, financial professionals who know how to identify and establish the existence of hidden assets is critical.

Source: Forbes, “Divorcing Women: Here’s Where Husbands Typically Hide Assets,” Jeff Landers, March 14, 2012

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