Long, Murphy & Zung, P.A.

Assets your spouse may be hiding from you as you divorce

Divorcing spouses are legally required to fill out disclosures enumerating their many different sources of income, debts they owe, expenses and other assets. Despite the risk of them losing their assets or even being criminally prosecuted if they don't, many spouses like to think they can be less than forthcoming in filling out these forms.

It's all too common that husbands may hide assets from their wives either before they marry or as the marriage gets rocky. In cases in which they don't hide property, they may suggest it's value is far inferior to what it actually is. Other times, husbands may try to offset their worth by claiming they are encumbered by high debts or expenses or that they make less income than they really do.

Analysts with the National Endowment for Financial Education (NEFE) argue that one spouse being deceptive about assets occurs within 31 percent of all relationships where couples share finances. Additionally, researchers found that wives are more than 65 percent likely to accuse their male partner of hiding assets. Men allegedly accuse their wives of doing so in 47 percent of all cases.

As for what spouses tend to hide from their partner, the NEFE found that, among those surveyed, 54 percent kept them out of the loop on minor purchases. Another 58 percent admitted to stockpiling cash.

In as much as 30 percent of all cases, a spouse copped to hiding some type of bill or financial document from one's companion. And just over a third of those polled came clean in saying they've lied to their spouse about financial matters. This category covered such things as how much they really make and how much debt they have to service.

Your spouse's signature on the Financial Affidavit serves to affirm that all financial obligations and investments have been disclosed. In working with a Naples attorney well versed in complex asset division, it may be possible to uncover hidden assets and secure what you are rightfully entitled to.

Source: Forbes, "What are the consequences of hiding assets during divorce?," Jeff Landers, accessed Aug. 25, 2017

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